Understanding Property Deeds: A Guide for UK Landlords

When it comes to owning a property, understanding the paperwork is essential. One crucial document is the property deed, also known as the title deed. In this guide, we'll explore what property deeds are, their significance, and how to manage them responsibly.

What Are Property Deeds?

Property deeds are legal documents that establish ownership of a property and any associated land. They are stored and managed by HM Land Registry, which oversees property registration in England and Wales. Property registration became mandatory in England and Wales in 1990, ensuring comprehensive documentation of property ownership.

Key Points About Property Deeds

Property deeds record ownership details and land boundaries.
Upon acquiring a property through purchase, inheritance, gift, or mortgage, it must be registered with HM Land Registry.

During initial registration, HM Land Registry retains a scanned copy of the original deeds while returning the originals to the submitting party, typically the solicitor or conveyancer involved.

Variations in Rules Across the UK

HM Land Registry exclusively handles property matters in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate registration systems, so different rules apply in these regions.

What do property deals look like?

Modern property deeds are primarily digital, with physical originals being rare. Copies are electronically stored and updated with each property transfer, serving as a continuous record of ownership. If the property you purchased has been previously registered, it's unlikely that you possess the original deeds. You can verify the registration status of your property by searching the register.

Upon property purchase, your solicitor typically provides a copy of the 'registered title,' usually within a month of completion.

How much do the Land Registry charge?

The Land Registry charges fees based on the type of transaction. These fees vary depending on the nature of the transaction, such as first registrations or property share transfers. While the specific costs for your property will be discussed with your solicitor, below are the details of the fee scales.

You can find full details of the fees at gov.uk.

Do I need my property deeds to sell my house?

If your property is registered with the Land Registry, you do not require the deeds to sell it. The Land Registry serves as the official record of land and property ownership in England and Wales, providing all necessary information for the sale process.

However, it's still advisable to keep a copy of your deeds for reference, as they may contain additional details like legal boundaries. If your property was registered when you purchased it, the original deeds might not have been handed over by the seller. While tracking down original deeds for frequently bought and sold properties can be challenging, you can request a scanned copy of the deeds from HM Land Registry by searching for your property's title number.

Storage and Safety of Property Deeds

Given their importance, property deeds should be stored safely along with other vital documents. A folder or filing cabinet at home provides a secure and accessible location for these documents, ensuring they remain protected and organized.

Dealing with Lost Property Deeds

If you misplace your property deeds, it's unlikely to result in permanent loss as they are typically digitally registered with HM Land Registry. However, if your property is unregistered, the seller holds the responsibility to provide the original deeds. It's crucial to keep them safe if you possess them.

In case you cannot find proof of ownership, contact the solicitors involved in the sale to submit a deeds request form to HM Land Registry. Remember, HM Land Registry only accepts requests through solicitors to prevent unsolicited communication. There may be a small fee for this service. If you still cannot locate the original deeds, you'll need to provide alternative evidence to establish your ownership status.

Explore Your Property Journey with Felicity J. Lord

At Felicity J. Lord, we're dedicated to guiding you through every aspect of property ownership. Whether you're buying, selling, or managing properties, our expertise and support ensure a seamless experience. Reach out to your local Felicity J. Lord branch today to embark on your property journey with confidence.