https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2014/11/07/how-old-is-my-house/

How old is my house?

How old is my house?

People sometimes ask us "How old is my house?", often because they need this information to take out building insurance.

We keep records of land ownership, not what's built on the land. However, if your property was sold by the developer who built it, you could find out its approximate age using the date of the first transfer or lease by the developer, as this date is often referred to in the register.

Find out how to get a copy of a title register.

If your property was not sold by the developer who built it, we won't have any information as to its age.

Other ways you can find out how old your house is

If you are in the process of buying the house, ask your seller or their agent. As part of a sale, the seller must complete a 'Seller’s property information form' which may contain the property's age.

If you have a mortgage, your survey may say how old the building is.

Your local authority may have a record of when planning permission was granted.

Ask neighbours in the same sort of properties, if they know the age of theirs.

If you have an older house, you could:

19 comments

  1. Comment by CAL1BR1 posted on

    It's incredibly annoying that the Land Registry changed the rules so that vendors are no longer under any obligation to hand over the original paper deeds when a property is sold. I have moved house twice so far and both times I have asked for the paper deeds only to be told that 'This is registered land and therefore such documents are not necessary'. It would appear these potentially very useful documents have been lost - and I'm not surprised seing as though vendors are not obliged to keep them anymore.

    Apart from the confirmed age of the house what other historical data has been lost in the rush to keep (incomplete) electronic records? I cannot understand why Land Registry didn't at least record the date houses were built before getting rid of paper deeds. Insurance companies always ask the age of the property and I have struggled to provide an accurate date for my possibly Victorian terrace. The resources mentioned in this article are no help whatsoever.

    Purchasers beware: you may not automatically get the original paper deed for the old house you intend to buy; and that's assuming the vendor has it at all. And no one will help you obtain it. Instead people will simply say 'but it's all electronic now!' - they cannot understand why you're asking for paper deeds. Once explained it is the age of the property one is trying to find out for insurance purposes answers suddenly dry up. Fact is without the original paper deeds there is no way to know for certain how old your house is. Land Registry have omitted this important data from their records. Very very annoying. I'm sure others must feel the same way?

    Reply
    • Replies to CAL1BR1>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Cal1br1 - whilst I can understand the frustration aattached to this issue for you any obligaation to hand over the old deeds is really a matter for the parties involved. We cannot legislate on such matters.
      The only obligation to hand the deeds over existed with unregistered land/property and I assume it is this you refer to in the context of a change of rules, namely compulsory registraiton removed that obligation. Whilst the knock-on effect of registration may have removed the obvious neede to hand over the original deeds any obligation to do so could still form part of the wider conveyancing process but it is interesting that the conveyancing practice never maintaiend such an obligation to do so - it might be interesting for others to understand why that was perhaps the case as well.
      As far as the age of buildings is directly concerned whilst there is an obvious link between land ownership and what is built on that land our ultimate registration requirement is the ownership. I agree that recording a much wider variety of information on the register including any changes re the building's age or indeed shape/size might also be helpful.
      However it should be recognised that there is not always a direct link between a change of ownership, as reflected on the land register (and in the old deeds previously), and a building being erected. In fact in many cases the land is owned for many years before anything is built so the requirement to register in the first place will not 'lose' the information you refer to as it never formed part of the land/property deeds of course.

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Catherine Hastings posted on

        I work for a large local authority. Following first registration, we give any pre - registration deeds of local /historic interest to the County archive, where they can be inspected at any time. It's a shame that a lot of old deeds are just being destroyed.

        Reply
        • Replies to Catherine Hastings>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Catherine - I suspect that is mirrored across many local authorities and as you suggest such old deeds and documents are often of historical/social interest.
          I should emphasise for others reading this blog that we do not 'destroy' old deeds but return them to the applicant. What they then do with them will often depend on their solicitor/lender as appropriate.

          Reply
    • Replies to CAL1BR1>

      Comment by Anne Wawrzyniak Tony Whittaker posted on

      we were given the old paper deeds about 20+ years ago very interesting reading but I have sold our house and the buyers solicitor after looking at the lease it had mentioned an earlier deed, which the Land registry said they didn't have and it was going to cost us £150 to search for it, fortunately I had it with the other old deeds, so a word of warning if you have the old paper deeds keep hold of them and don't trust the words, everything is on disk now because my most important one wasn't

      Reply
  2. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Scott - As our primary responsibility is to register legal ownership of the land / property, the information we hold will only be from the time the property was first registered with Land Registry. We keep records of land ownership, not of what is built on the land.Most of the times, particularly in older properties, the date when the property was built will not be the same as when the property was first registered.

    If your property was sold by the developer who built it, you can find out its approximate age using the date of the first transfer or lease by the developer.

    If your property was not sold by the developer who built it then we will not have any information as to its age.

    But you can try the following sources of information to get the date:

    Ask your seller or their agent. As part of a sale, the seller must complete a 'Seller’s property information form' which may contain the property's age.
    If you have a mortgage, your survey may say how old the building is.
    Your local authority may have a record of when planning permission was granted.
    Neighbours in the same sort of properties may know the age of theirs.
    For historical information about properties and people you can now search the Land Registry’s Digital Archive of the 1862 Act Register. It contains 2,000 properties which you can search against by name and/or area and download images for free.

    If you have an older house, you could also...

    Look at the architectural style and features of the house, particularly the roof and position of windows. The Valuation Office Agency gives tips on estimating the age of a property using such details.
    Check your parish records, county record offices or your local library which may have local archives.
    Check earlier editions of the Ordnance Survey maps.
    Contact a local history society to see if they can help you.
    Look at census returns made at ten year intervals between 1841 and 1911. They are available from a variety of sources, such as the National Archives. These could help identify any first mention of the address.
    I hope this helps.

    Reply
  3. Comment by Angie posted on

    Hi,
    I've downloaded a copy of my title register, but there's no mention of title deeds. How can I verify if you hold a copy of the title deed and if you do, can I check who you returned the original to (likely the mortgage company who claim they don't have it.) I believe the title deed may contain information relating to allocated parking as my neighbour says her parking information is on her deeds.

    Thanks

    Reply
  4. Comment by Jason Head posted on

    Hi
    I been trying to find the Date my Grans House was built on insurance docs say 1950s but a insurance company need the legal proof for another matter. The solicitor says it aint on the deeds. Grans has tried local councils they say can't help and now i seem to be coming to a a dead end to.

    Can you give me any advice trying to save my Gran a nasty sum of £400 to find out?
    Any information is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Replies to Jason Head>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Jason - all the advice we can give is in the blog article but by the sound of it you have not checked the deeds to see if there are actually any clues - your solicitor is right that we don't register such details but sometimes there are clues.

      Otherwise I would be asking the neighbours if they know. They may have been asking the same question before and have some details

      Reply
  5. Comment by Ian posted on

    Hi. I expect we have indicated we are unable to help as essentially you appear to own the freehold of the whole building and so a separate address for the flat does not appear on the title documents. Presumably there is also no lease registered specifically for the flat. But the title register together with the title plan for your property would indicate the extent that you own.

    Reply
  6. Comment by Jilly Rogers posted on

    Good afternoon,
    I live in a very old 17th century timber framed house in Horndon on the Hill, Essex but have been unable to find an accurate date for when it was built. We have the 'deeds' which are, in effect, a modern day typed version of the originals but with most of the relevant information missing. All that I can find out is that the house was built in approx.' 1603 and it was originally 1 dwelling (it is now split into 3) I'd be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction please.

    Reply
    • Replies to Jilly Rogers>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Jilly - we won't have any record I'm afraid so it is very much down to your own detective work to try and establish the age and history of the building.
      The blog article explains some possible avenues of enquiry for you

      Reply
  7. Comment by Pat posted on

    Is there any way to find all properties built by a developer?
    I'd like to find out when and where properties were built by the developer of my house.

    Reply
    • Replies to Pat>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Pat - not through us I'm afraid. If just locally then try your local authority planning department? Otherwise I suspect the only likely resource is the builder itself

      Reply
  8. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Louisa - at Land Registry we do not record information on when the house was built. One of our blog - How old is my house, may be helpful in answering your question - https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/how-old-is-my-house/

    Reply
  9. Comment by adamh posted on

    Gillian - a question only the insurance and water board can answer I'm afraid. I assume it depends on what evidence you have and whether the 25/30 year gap makes a difference to them

    Reply
  10. Comment by adamh posted on

    Adrian - there is no year involved re owning your own house. Do you mean something else perhaps such as when did it become compulsory to register? If you do then section 8 of PG1 lists areas and the dates for compulsory registration https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-registrations

    Reply
  11. Comment by Keith Searle posted on

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