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What Are Title Deeds? A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’re probably going to hear the term ‘title deeds’ quite a lot. This is why you need to know what they are, and why they’re so important.

We answer the question “what are title deeds?” so you can approach your next property transaction with your eyes wide open.

A title deed is a document that formally registers the legal owner of land and property. As well as providing information about the owner, the document also includes a brief history of the property. Other information on a title deed contains details of any mortgages secured on the property, contracts for sales and recent conveyances.

Property burdens

What are title deeds

A solicitor or conveyancer needs to see a title deed before proceeding with the exchange of contracts. This is because the ‘property burdens’ listed on the document must be met. Among the most common property burdens are:

  • Restrictions on extending and improving the property
  • Maintenance and significant repairs to the property
  • Access to the property
  • Restrictions on how the building can be used
  • Whether or not rights to roads on the property exist

Title deeds are now stored digitally on the Land Registry website. This makes accessing them very easy. However, a paper version is usually stored by a solicitor or conveyancer for future reference.

Accessing a title deed

If you ever need to access a title deed, you can do so through the Land Registry. In the first instance, search for the deed on the Land Registry website. You don’t need to own the property to access the document. This means you can check the details of ownership and property burdens before you make an offer.

Download a copy of the title register. You need this to find the title number. You can then complete a deeds request form — available online.

Transferring title deeds

What are title deeds?

It is possible to add and remove names from a title deed. For example, if a new spouse is moving into your home, you might wish to add their name to the deed. Other reasons to change the names on the document include death and divorce.

Follow these steps if you need to amend the information on your title deed:

  • Complete an AP1 form — available on the UK Government website
  • Choose whether to transfer all or just a proportion of the property
  • Confirm your identity
  • Ascertain the fee associated with your particular application
  • Send the full application to HM Land Registry

You may run into a few problems when trying to make a chance to your title deed for the first time. For example, your original deed might be lost or destroyed. This was relatively common before records were digitalised, as documents used to change hands between solicitors and conveyancers every time a property was sold.

You may also encounter a problem known as ‘adverse possession’. This is when your property is standing on land you don’t legally own. This can happen by accident when the property is first registered. You might also discover that ownership of the land on which your property stands is unknown.

If you encounter problems with your title deed, seek legal advice. If you need to sell a house fast, we buy any property. Call us today for a free, no-obligation valuation.

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