Who Holds The Deeds To Your Home?

Title deeds are paper documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property. They can include: conveyances, contracts for sale, wills, mortgages and leases.

In the 1990’s, land started to be registered nationally on what is now a computerised database and in most cases the Land Registry now hold all relevant information required to ‘prove’ ownership. However, Title Deeds and associated plans are still useful when trying to establish historic ownership and in the resolution of boundary disputes.

In England and Wales, the title of land (in other words, historic proof of ownership) has always been proven in ‘the title deeds’ of the property.

Property bought or sold in England or Wales has been required to be registered by your conveyancer at the Land Registry, making the importance of the physical deeds (effectively a paper record of the property, the property owner’s rights and responsibilities and a log of historic transactions) for registered property rather less important when proving ownership. However, the deeds are still an important historical record and should be kept safe and secure.

Given that many of us own property subject to mortgage, it’s probable that our property’s title deeds will still be held by the mortgagee (the lender). However, lenders these days simply register their interest on the title entry of the mortgaged property with the land registry. That said, in most cases, it's unlikely that you’ll see your property’s deeds until you clear your mortgage at which time you should request your deeds from the lender and make sure that their ‘charge’ on the registered title is removed. More and more lenders are now charging a fee for this administrative requirement.

How To Obtain Title Deeds To A House |  Where Are My house Title Deeds?

If you do not have the original deeds and the property has not previously been registered then you will need to fulfill a variety of additional requirements in order to prove valid title. It is possible that a ‘Possessory Title’ may be offered in cases where full title cannot be proven.

In most cases, Title Deeds are retained by the mortgagee until such time as the loan is repaid.

For more information contact us or speak to a mortgage advisor on 01628 507477.

What happens To My Title Deeds When Buying & Selling

Once you buy a property your solicitor will receive the Title Deeds. They will register your title with the Land Registry and then, if you have a mortgage, he will register the mortgage against your title and in most cases the deeds will then be sent to your mortgage provider who will hold them until the mortgage is paid off in full.

If you decide to sell your property before the mortgage has been cleared then the mortgage must be cleared by you through your solicitor (usually from the proceeds realised from the sale of your property). This is done before the deeds can be released and is arranged between the solicitors and the mortgagees.

When you pay off your mortgage you might be required to pay the mortgagee (the lender) a final fee to cover administration and the return of your deeds). At this time your deeds will be sent to you for safekeeping. You can either keep them safe or ask your bank or solicitors to hold them for you. They may make a small charge for this.

What To Do With My House Deeds When The Mortgage Is Paid-Off?

Many people think that there must be a massive library somewhere holding rack-upon-rack of dusty old folders containing the title deeds for every property in the country. This is not the case.

HM Land Registry was first created in 1861 and since the 1980s it has been compulsory that all new transactions involving the sale of land are registered on the Land Registry’s electronic database. Every day 400 new registrations are made as a property that is not yet registered is bought or sold for the first time since this regulation came into force. As of September 2019, 87% of all property in England and Wales is now registered.

Once your property is registered there is no specific need for you to physically hold the deeds. However, mortgage lenders may hold the title deeds during the term of the mortgage or ask that your solicitor does so. They will also register a ‘charge’ on your property to declare and protect their interest as the mortgagee, meaning that you will not be able to sell or remortgage the property without their consent. ‘Deeds’ might refer to documents such as land conveyances, wills, leases, mortgage deeds or contracts for sale.

Once you have paid off your mortgage you will want to make sure that the charge on your property is cleared. You may well also want the physical deeds held by the mortgagee. If you don’t have a mortgage your solicitor may hold them on your behalf. However, nowadays, there is no absolute requirement in law for the seller to forward the deeds to the buyer. Your proof of ownership rests in the Land Registry. That said, other information such as boundary information, etc may be included in the deeds and so it is prudent to keep the Title Deeds safe.

If the mortgagee holds your title deeds they will probably require an administration payment to release them. This is usually £50 - £100 but may vary over time and is subject to the terms of your mortgage agreement. You might want to keep them safe or pass them to your family lawyer for them to store them in secure document storage for which, they may make a small charge. Alternatively, you can keep them safe at home.

You can search the Land Registry to see if your title deeds are registered and to find out your title number. If they are, you can search for a scanned copy at HM Land Registry.

If, when you come to sell your property, you are unable to find your deeds, several companies offer insurance to cover buyers in the event that an unknown legal problem with the title, such as an easement or restrictive covenant, later comes to light.


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