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What should you do if you want to sell your home but have lost the title deeds?

Posted on July 12, 2017, by Kirsty Baigent

You want to sell your home, but you have lost the title deeds. What should you do? Kirsty Baigent of Coodes Solicitors’ Conveyancing Executive looks at an issue that can cost time and money and even cause a house sale to fall through.

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

Although many people assume that all property or land is registered with the Land Registry, this is not always the case. In fact, land or property can be unregistered for a number of reasons.  This could be, for example, because the property or land has not been mortgaged or sold since registration became compulsory throughout the UK in 1991. Or, perhaps the land or property was previously purchased with the title deeds but they have since been lost.

The issue of missing title deeds often only becomes apparent when owners want to sell land or property. Here at Coodes, we have had many people contact us worrying that they cannot locate the deeds to a property. This could potentially halt a sale in its tracks- but there is a solution. Here is what you should do if this happens to you:

Make enquiries

Firstly, establish with the Land Registry whether the property is registered. If so, there may be no need to find the deeds. If not, then enquiries should be made with previous banks or solicitors as to whether deeds are held. Otherwise, an application can be made as to the long term use of the property or land, but this will need supporting evidence to ensure success.

Gather documents

The simplest way to support an application to the Land Registry would be to produce household documents that prove the use of the property or land over a long-term period. These documents can include, for example, a TV licence, utility/council tax bills, bank statements or even photographs that show the property or land being used during the relevant time frame. A formal Declaration may also need to be made.

Get advice

If you believe your property is not registered with the Land Registry or you have mislaid the deeds get legal advice. An experienced conveyancer will be able to help you resolve the situation so you can get your property on the market as quickly as possible.

For more information or advice on these issues, contact Kirsty Baigent at Coodes Solicitors: kirsty.baigent@coodes.co.uk or 01726 874700.