What Are Title Deeds? A Useful Mini Guide

Title deeds are the most essential documents when it comes to owning a house, as they state the legal owners of a property and set out the tenure and boundaries of the ownership.

For every property, there needs to be some record of ownership and tenure and this comes in the form of title deeds. In this blog, we’ll look at what title deeds are, what their purpose is and why they are so important.

If you’re looking for any information regarding housing title deeds, we’ll likely have the information for you right here in this guide! 

What are title deeds and what are they used for?

If you are new to purchasing property, there may be a few unfamiliar terms, phrases and jargon associated with the whole process. One thing that fits into this category for many related to records of ownership and in particular, title deeds.

Title deeds are the most essential documents when it comes to owning a house, as they state the legal owners of a property and set out the tenure and boundaries of the ownership. The title deeds also contain any covenants and restrictions on use regarding your property as well as rights of access and charges on your property, including those made by mortgage lenders or banks. 

Different types of title deed

An absolute title deed is the main type, which is usually the original deed to a property. There is also a second type, known as a possessory title, which is often awarded when the original deeds have been lost or damaged, and an absolute title deed can’t be possibly proven. 

Who holds the title deeds?

There are a variety of different parties that may be holding the title deeds to your property. Title deeds are often held by conveyancers or solicitors that acted on your behalf during the purchase of the house. Alternatively, deeds are often held by your bank or mortgage provider. Despite this, old title deeds can often be difficult to track down, especially if they have changed hands multiple times throughout the year.

What do title deeds look like?

Unfortunately, title deeds don’t always have that ancient-style aesthetic that you might be picturing when you think of old documents. Nowadays, they are more commonly stored electronically, and you will likely only have a copy of the original documents. It is sometimes possible to obtain the original deeds, but for convenience, they are usually all stored electronically. 

Do you need deeds to sell a house?

Pat Robson sold sign

When selling a property, the title deeds will need to change hands to the new owners. In many cases, this is done through solicitors. The likelihood is, your solicitor will produce the deeds for the buyer’s solicitors, who will then present the documents to the new buyers for them to review. 

Usually, the deeds will be digitally registered with the Land Registry and you won’t have to do anything. However, in some circumstances the property may be unregistered, if this is the case then you as the seller must produce the original deeds. 

If you aren’t able to find proof of ownership, then you will need to get in contact with the solicitors who oversaw the sale of the property and get them to submit a deeds request form from the Land Registry.  

Should you buy a house without title deeds?

Ultimately this will be your decision to make, however, if you decide to purchase a property without title deeds, you need to be extremely cautious. It is wise to encourage your solicitor to be as thorough as possible during the buying process. Bear in mind that a few hundred pounds extra in legal fees may save you from thousands of pounds in the future. It is also recommended that you ask for indemnity insurance from the seller which will cover you for any potential problems that occur relating to the possessory title deed. 

How to register a property with HM Land Registry

The majority of the time, properties will already be registered with the Land Registry, however, if your property is not registered, you’ll need to do this when you first take ownership. This process can be done online, and you’ll need to supply all relevant details including the title deeds. 

How much does the Land Registry charge?

The cost of registering your property with HM Land Registry will depend on the property type and its value. Currently, the cost of registering a property valued at £100,000 is £60. For a property valued at £200,000, it will cost you £140.  

When discussing title deeds whilst buying or selling a property, it’s always a good idea to check with your solicitor to establish where the deeds are stored and what you’ll need to do with them during the transaction. 

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