Where are my title deeds, and do I need them?

Historically, the Deeds to your house were the proof that you owned it. Each sale from one owner to the next would be recorded in documents called a “Conveyance” or for old transactions an “Indenture”.

If the property was subject to a mortgage, the Deeds would be held by the Bank or Building Society as security, but if you owned the property outright it was common to entrust the Deeds to your Solicitor safekeeping.

However, since the late 1980s all property purchases in Cumbria have to be registered with the Land Registry.

It is likely that your property has already been through the First Registration process, however, if a sale has not occurred since the 1980s, your Solicitor will need to review your title from consideration of the old deeds and prove to the Land Registry that you have proper title to the land.

When a property is first registered, the Land Registry will copies of key documents but everything else is returned to the owner. These old Deeds may therefore appear to be redundant, apart from historic interest.

However the old Deeds can by important when you come to sell the property or if a dispute arises with a neighbour. This is because they may include additional information relating to rights of way, boundaries or planning permissions. Sometime the historic plans can be vital in helping to get to the bottom of these disputes.

So, if you still have the Deeds to your property make sure you do keep them safe, and if you are considering buying an old property it is always worth asking if the Deeds are available. Not only do they provide a nice bit of history, but they could prove to be very important.

Published 14 June 2018

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