Title deeds are an essential document for establishing ownership of property and land in England and Wales. But what are they, where are they and do you need them?
What are title deeds?
Title deeds are legal documents showing who has owned land and property since it was registered. They also record any mortgages secured on the property.
They can include:
- Contracts for sale
What does a title deed look like?
Gone are the days of yellow-tinged scrolls with elaborate calligraphy! In our modern world title deeds are now stored electronically, so unless the property has never been registered it is unlikely that you will have the original paper document.
What information is on my title deeds?
Information may include:
- Ownership details (this includes names and addresses of the registered owner)
- Date of purchase and price paid (or value stated for properties sold after April 2000)
- Property description
- What type of tenure the property has (freehold/leasehold)
- Any restrictive covenants affecting the property and land
- Maintenance responsibilities
- Information relating to rights of way and drainage
- Mortgages and charges affecting the title including the name and address of the lender
- The title number
- Reference to previous transfers, agreements and conveyance with dates and names of parties involved
Where are my title deeds held?
HM Land Registry holds digital records of title deeds. When a property is registered for the first time HM Land Registry scan copies of the deeds and return them to whoever lodged them. This is usually the solicitor or conveyancer acting on behalf of the buyer.
If you're looking for your original paper title deeds you may find that they are with the solicitor who acted for you when you bought the property or possibly with your mortgage company.
Do I need my title deeds?
As HM land registry holds a definitive record of all land and property ownership you don’t need the document to prove you own the property. It is, however, a good idea to keep the original deeds as they can hold extra information about legal boundaries or who the previous owner was
If you are selling a property your solicitor will need to produce the deeds for the buyer’s solicitor. Your buyer will review and accept the document and ask their solicitor any questions that may arise.