Who has My Deeds?
This article examines where Deeds are usually kept, in what format they are kept, and how to restore then if they cannot be found. Often the answer will be found by asking yourself the following question: "is the property registered with the Land Registry?" If the answer to that question is "yes" you can have copies of your ownership documents within the hour, together with copies of any scanned conveyancing Deeds.
Lost Deeds Search
A Lost Deeds Search is usually made when a customer does not know whether his property is registered or unregistered. We will discover this and obtain copies of any registered documents that exist, evidence of applications pending to register ownership, evidence of other interests in the property that are pending First Registration, or evidence of the property's non-registration. Our charge for this search is £34.90.
Obtain Title Deeds
If the property has a mortgage outstanding the Deeds will be with the mortgage lender. Because they have provided a loan for the purchases of the property they will require the Deeds to the property as security for the loan. They will not release the Deeds until the mortgage has been redeemed (paid off in full).
Where the property is free from mortgage or other financial charges the Deeds are usually held by either:
- Your solicitor
- Your bank
- A former mortgagee
- A safety deposit box
- In your house
If you are unable to find your Deeds
If you are unable to find your Deeds, after working your way through the above list, you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to reconstitute them for you. He will require from you any copies that you may have, whatever their condition, copies of council tax receipts, other utility bills, statements from your mortgagee and any other evidence you can discover that would prove your ownership.
He will also require one or more witnesses to sign a Declaration of Truth. These witnesses would usually be neighbours who have lived beside you for a long period of time.
Once he has compiled the evidence he will apply to the Land Registry to register your property. He may only be successful in obtaining a Possessory Title, but this can be upgraded to an Absolute Title (the best class of Title) after 10 years.
Where the property is registered there is no longer a need to keep the Deeds to the property, as they become redundant as evidence of ownership. Instead, proof of ownership is provided from the Title Register and Title Plan, which are held electronically by the Land Registry, and copies can be purchased at any time for a modest fee.
An official copy of the Title Register is absolute evidence of your ownership and is acceptable as evidence in court, and will satisfy all official organisations who may require proof of ownership.