Lost Title Deeds
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8 March 2011
When selling a property, the owner will need to prove ownership and the
right to sell. Most homes in the UK are registered properties and this
means that evidence of ownership has been provided at some stage during
the life of a property and the Land Registry has registered the title
on its database.
Having the title deeds is more important
where a property is not registered with the Land Registry. Upon a sale,
mortgage or other disposition, the owner will need the title deeds of
the property to prove ownership to the other party to the transaction.
Also, most dispositions of the property title will trigger a first
registration and the Land Registry requires deeds proving the chain of
ownership for at lease the last 15 years.
It is therefore imperative that the title
deeds are located and stored in a safe place. If they are lost or have
been misplaced, then the following should be considered:
Search for them
- Contact local solicitors, or parties to
recent transactions involving the property to see if they may hold
copies of documentation. Solicitors often store title deeds to the
property for their client.
- Place an advertisement in the Law
Society's Gazette giving details of the name of the purchaser, address
of the property and requesting information. A solicitor who has dealt
with the property may see the notice and contact you with information.
- Conduct a thorough search within the
property - the deeds may have been hidden safely within the property,
such as under floor boards, in the loft space, in the cellar, etc.
If the title deeds still cannot be found,
then an application for First Registration (Form FR1) will need to be
submitted to the Land Registry, with the relevant Land Registry fee.
To complete a First Registration, the
applicant needs to submit deeds which show ownership of the property
for at least the last 15 years. If this cannot be proved, then any
documents held by the applicant will need to be submitted, along with
- a letter providing as much information
as possible about the property, such as how the applicant became the
owner of the property, and a report of the search attempts that have
been made, providing evidence of unsuccessful searches such as letters
from solicitors, etc.
- a Title Plan showing the boundaries of
the property. The Land Registry uses plans based on Ordnance Survey
(OS) and a good start will be to obtain a copy of an OS map of the
property or the title plan to a neighbouring property that is
registered with the Land Registry and mark or outline the borders of
the property in question.
- submit a Statutory Declaration with a
plan of the property included in the Declaration, from a neighbour to
the property or another person (such as the solicitor who acted in the
purchase) in which they confirm that the applicant owns the property
and the boundaries of the property. The Statutory Declaration will also
have to state how long the person has known the applicant and in what
capacity. It is best to consult a solicitor for drafting the statutory
The Land Registry will contact the
applicant (or the applicant's solicitor) if they require any further
information. They will also need to send a surveyor to the property to
confirm the boundaries, and this will be an extra cost payable by the
Once the Land Registry has processed the
application and registered the property, they send the applicant a copy
of the title and the plan. These should be checked by the applicant to
ensure the information on the title is correct, so there are no
problems in the future. Any issues should be raised with the Land
Inam Ali is a Solicitor at Lawdit,
Commercial Property and Intellectual Property Law and can be contacted
via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-03-16 13:21:02 in Legal Articles