https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/19/title-deeds/

Where are my title deeds, and do I need them?

Title deeds

Before I worked here, I wondered if HM Land Registry was full of clerical staff pushing piles of paperwork around, like a scene from Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’.

I was happy to discover that HM Land Registry is actually very forward-looking and is using digital technology to transform how land registration works.

I think some of our customers may have a similarly false impression though. They are often disappointed to learn that we don’t have their original title deeds, stored in a library of dusty ledgers!

So, what are title deeds, where are they kept, and do you need them?

What are title deeds?

Title deeds are paper documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property. They can include:

  • conveyances;
  • contracts for sale;
  • wills;
  • mortgages; and
  • leases.

Where are my title deeds?

HM Land Registry records are digital, so we don’t store paper title deeds.

Generally, we only have the original title deeds when land or property is registered for the first time, as we need them to prepare the register. We create scanned copies of some deeds and then return all the original title deeds to whoever lodged them. This is usually the solicitor or conveyancer acting on behalf of the buyer.

So, if you’re trying to track down your original deeds, they could be with the solicitor who acted for you when you bought the property, or possibly with your mortgage company, if you have a mortgage.

If the property was already registered when you bought it, the seller may not have handed over the original deeds. There’s no requirement for them to do so. Tracing the original deeds for a property that has been bought and sold many times is likely to be an impossible task.

If you want to see a scanned copy of the deeds that we have on file, start by searching our property information and finding your property’s title number. If the register refers to deeds being filed, we should have copies. You can then get a copy of your deeds.

Do I need my title deeds?

Our Land Register is the definitive record of land and property ownership in England and Wales. So, if your property is registered with us, you don’t need the deeds to confirm your ownership. It’s a good idea to keep the original deeds though, as they can hold extra information, about legal boundaries or who the previous owner was, for example.

If your property isn’t on the register and you choose to apply for first registration, you'll need to submit the original deeds to us. If your deeds have been lost or destroyed, it can make things more complicated, so I’d always recommend keeping them in a safe place.

145 comments

  1. Comment by Donald Gray posted on

    Many lenders won't hold mortgage deeds for residential properties and expect the client or solicitor to hold them so I think your comments about deeds being held by a mortgage company is generally incorrect.

    Also one other reason to hold title deeds is to help to identify who might have the benefit of an easement or a restrictive covenant. I have seen many entries which recite the terms of a transfer or conveyance which refer to "retained land" but there is nothing on the face of the register to tell you where the retained land might be. Sometimes you can do this by obtaining adjoinging titles but you can imagine how expensive and time consuming that can be when there have been many sales such as a residentiasl estate or in an urban area.

    Reply
    • Replies to Donald Gray>

      Comment by Frank Ramsay posted on

      Thanks for your comments, Donald. I agree that it is more likely for the deeds to be held by a solicitor or conveyancer. I mentioned mortgage companies because I wanted to present all the options available to somebody trying to track down their deeds.

      I also agree that if you have your paper deeds, you should keep them to be able to check any additional information. I do state this, but don’t mention every reason for wanting to keep them, as this is a general guide.

      Reply
      • Replies to Frank Ramsay>

        Comment by Zaeem posted on

        That is incorrect. Some lenders may store title deeds.

        Reply
        • Replies to Zaeem>

          Comment by Frank Ramsay posted on

          Hello Zaeem, I clearly state in the blog that your title deeds may be "with your mortgage company, if you have a mortgage". I agreed with Donald that it was less likely for them to held by lenders, though. Hope this is clear.

          Reply
      • Replies to Frank Ramsay>

        Comment by Liz Bailey posted on

        Last year we lost a sale because we didn't have a signed copy of our title deeds, we have a copy but for some reason it's not signed. Land registry have no record but have copies of all other relevant deeds. Our mortgage lender didn't have the title deeds or our solicitor at the time of sale didn't either. I have checked with both. When we tried to sell last year our then solicitor offered an indemnity insurance but this was not accepted. How can we right this situation so that we don't have the same problem when we next try to move? Our neighbours all have signed copies. We moved into our house in 1999. It was then a new build.

        Reply
        • Replies to Liz Bailey>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Liz - I assume by 'title deeds' you mean a specific deed/document which ahs been lost. If so the only way to right that sistuaiton is to find it or a certified copy. The alternative can be idemnity insurance but that all depends on the view of the buyer/their solicitor as to whther they accept that as being sufficient to negate the risk.

          Reply
          • Replies to AdamH>

            Comment by liz posted on

            Surely if all other documents/deeds are held by land registry, which they are, then should that not be enough evidence that the house is our property. I really can't see what the problem is. Perhaps you could explain it to me.
            I was under the impression that a house could only be bought legally if land registry has all the documents in the first place. So why do you not have a copy of our title deeds when you have everything else?

          • Replies to liz>

            Comment by AdamH posted on

            Liz - if the property is registered then that confirms the ownership. Clearly whichever deed you are referring to is seen as also being important for your buyer but they/your solicitor will need to explain it for you.
            When the new build was sold and then registered you will have submitted the evidence to support that purchase, namely proof that the seller owned it and that they had transferred it to you. We then create the registered title whcih you and buyers would then rely on. I'm guessing here, as you have not specified what is missing, that a copy of the Transfer between you and the developer is missing and this is the key document the buyers want to see. If that is the case and we don't have a copy then the only options are to try the developer or check your own paperwork to see if you had a copy and you kept it. If a copy can't be found then the indemnity option may be a way forward. But whether the buyer accepts that or not is entirely up to them. Another buyer may be quite happy to proceed with indemnity insurance but veyr much a choice for individual buyers and their solicitor.

  2. Comment by Anthony Howarth posted on

    Thank you for this helpful blog, Frank. I feel though that we should not overlook the elephant in the room in that the Land Registry’s scanning process has not been infallible and I would have thought that a substantial proportion of your audience has, at one time or another, been told that the Registry does not have a copy of a document that is referred to as being “filed”.

    In the above circumstances, whilst the Registry is happy to indemnify the registered proprietor , the production of the original deed (or a certified copy) by a disponor or other party is vastly preferable.

    Reply
    • Replies to Anthony Howarth>

      Comment by Frank Ramsay posted on

      Hello Anthony. I agree with you that original deeds (or certified copies) are preferable in this circumstance.

      I would add that if anyone believes that our records are incomplete, they should get in touch and submit their original deeds so that we can make updates or corrections. It's in all of our interests for the Land Register to be as accurate and rich in detail as possible.

      Reply
    • Replies to Anthony Howarth>

      Comment by Laura McConnell posted on

      Totally agree! I have applied for two documents this week, on different properties, which are stated as “copy filed” but then they are no longer available!

      Reply
      • Replies to Laura McConnell>

        Comment by AdamH posted on

        Laura - a register may refer to them as 'copy filed' but once the file is retrieved they may be 'missing'. Unfortunately it can happen but it is very rare. Apologies if that is the case here

        Reply
  3. Comment by Tim Higham posted on

    Deeds have taken on a far greater definition as any buyers lawyer will know, they end up with a bundle at the end of a purchase and almost certainly send them to their client (for storage reasons) and they will be:
    1. Council consents
    2. Guarantees
    3. FENSA and Oil/has/electrical certificates
    4. Covenant/landlord consents
    5. Searches
    6. The original lease
    7. Management information
    8. Share certificates
    9. New built warranties

    Firms who say they hold nothing as all dematerialised are lazy as they should seek that pack.

    Reply
  4. Comment by Sandra N. Rees posted on

    As my husband and I had paid off our mortgage aprox 6 months ago I enquired about having the original deeds returned. I was horrified to be told by a flippant member of staff that Land Registry did not have them. They are a historical document and wanted them returned. Enquired with HSBC (lender) and solicitor but could not advise me at all. I contacted the Western Mail who noted the story.
    I think it is disgusting that we were not advised by either department what was the procedure and I still want our deeds returned !!!!!

    Reply
    • Replies to Sandra N. Rees>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Sandra - I'm sorry if we were flippant in our handling of your call. We don't hold original deeds/documents and this blog post explains how they are returned to the applicant after first registration. I can see we have a record of a contact by phone from you in April 2017 and the record includes an email reply also. I'll pick that up and email you again with a bit more specific insight into what, in my experience, may have happened re. any original deeds.

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Anthony Rose posted on

        Hi Adam,
        I have a similar predicament to Sandra, the convayancing solicitor for Santander, my lender, tells me they forwarded all the documentation to my property built in the 1850’s to the Land Regisrty. How do I trace this paperwork?

        Reply
        • Replies to Anthony Rose>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Anthony - you will probably find that their reply is a standard one re their not holding any 'deeds' and that the register is held electronically by us. As the article explains we don't retain the original deeds/documents. Lender's don't send us the original deeds when the mortgage is paid off.
          In the vast majority of cases and where a property has been sold/bought a few times after it has been registered those original deeds are not passed on. If the mortgage was taken out pre-2000 then the lender might have had a copy of the registered title in the form of a charge certificate - sometimes when they say they sent the deeds to us they mean that document. They don;t mean any other deeds/documents I'm afraid

          Reply
    • Replies to Sandra N. Rees>

      Comment by Martin posted on

      I have also just paid off a mortgage, and am trying to locate my deeds.
      I am disgusted that nobody seems to know where they are!
      I am also annoyed that I am expected to pay for a copy of something that essentially now belongs to me and should have been automatically sent to me as soon as I paid off the mortgage

      Reply
      • Replies to Martin>

        Comment by AdamH posted on

        Martin - can you give me your title number please and I'll do my best to shed some light on the issue re the original deeds/documents. As the article explains there is no need for you to hold a copy of the registered title although I appreciate that you may wish to check/confirm the registered details if the lender did not provide you with a copy.

        Reply
      • Replies to Martin>

        Comment by LEO SCHUYT posted on

        I agree that they good send a copy,of your title deed.When you paid out your mortgage.

        Reply
        • Replies to LEO SCHUYT>

          Comment by ianflowers posted on

          Leo - we note your feedback, but as mentioned there is no need for the owner to hold a paper copy of the title register/plan that we hold in electronic form. It's also a matter between the lender and borrower as to whether a copy of the title documents are provided when the mortgage is paid off.

          Reply
  5. Comment by Jim Kendall posted on

    I have become very aware of how efficient the Land Registry is or was. 21 years ago I purchased my house and the front garden & driveway outside the building were added to my plot, from the original plans. Now I have found that this extra land has been placed on-top of my house and my next door neighbour still owns all the land up to my front windows. Surely someone at the L.R. must have noticed you cannot put a garden & driveway on-top of a two story house?

    Reply
  6. Comment by Mike posted on

    A really insightful overview of some of Land Registry's purpose and practices there, dispelling some previously held perceptions too. Trying to hunt down title deeds and being unsure of who may have them in the past is exactly why it is so vital to have, and maintain, the register.

    Reply
  7. Comment by Janice posted on

    I have just bought a house only to be told by solicitor that nobody knows where the original deeds for the property are located, as the property was built in 1892 I am sure that the original deeds would hold a lot of information regarding my property some of which I might need to know but will now never find out

    Reply
  8. Comment by John posted on

    I purchased a house 5 years ago without title deeds, but was offered an indemnity policy to set up the means for compensation should someone with a superior title ever show up, which I was told was virtually a Zero chance scenario. The property is registered with the Land registry in my name, so theoretically the missing deeds should not be an issue. However, when speaking to a potential mortgage provider today over a new deal, I was told "we steer clear of any property where there may be any chance at all of a risk to our security". My question is, am i left with a house that I cant sell in the future, if mortgage providers are this concerned ?

    Reply
    • Replies to John>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      John - if a buyer's mortgage lender won't secure against that risk then yes but not all buyers/lenders will take that view in my experience. Lenders will vary considerably re such matters not only re a Yes/No but in their reasons for either decision so in my experience I would not say you are left with a house you cannot sell.

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by John posted on

        Thanks Adam. Its obviously a concern for me as it changes the playing field a bit when we come to moving on. I may be unduly worried, but I'm going to seek some professional legal conveyancing advice on where I stand / what the implications are for the future. I went into the purchase with sound legal advice, but I think its time to revisit the situation. Much appreciated.

        Reply
        • Replies to John>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          John - understood and very much the right thing to do. All I can usefully add is that a 'possessory title is not unusual and very commonplace.

          Reply
  9. Comment by Gillian posted on

    Hi hoping you can help with my inquiry. I paid off my mortgage on February 10th and was told I would receive paper work in 10 - 14 days, after many phone calls 17 days later and still no paper work I am now told the mortgage was discharged on the 26th and the Land Registry have been informed. My question is will I actually get any paper work from the Land Registry to make it official? If so how long should it take? I do have a bundle of old documents which I believe includes the original deeds. Thank you Gillian.

    Reply
    • Replies to Gillian>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Gillian - most lenders remove their mortgage electronically and they receive a confirmaiton from us what that has happened. We do not routinely notify the actual owner/borrower. If you wish to check/confirm the current registered details then you can do that online using the link in the blog article itself

      Reply
  10. Comment by Bill posted on

    Hi
    For some one to make a claim on a property that has been devided in percentage, are they required to produce the original? As they only have a photocopy of the document

    Reply
    • Replies to Bill>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Bill - if they are looking to claim a % of the beneficial ownership then that is something to get legal advice on. Such a claim would in my experience be a matter of law and not a registration issue

      Reply
  11. Comment by Neil Hartley posted on

    Hi,
    We're in the process of buying a house and our solicitor has said that "when the property was first registered at the Land Registry details of easements and restrictions were not provided to the Land Registry and the seller has no information at all about this or the previous deeds other than a photocopy of a 1968 deed when the land was first conveyed".
    An indemnification policy was suggested to protect us but my concern is that we will have an issue selling the property later (possibly to someone needing a mortgage per the comment from John above). Our solicitor initially suggested the policy would be a good solution but then suggested we may be creating a problem for the future. Do you have any advice for us?

    Reply
    • Replies to Neil Hartley>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Neil - I'm afraid we can't really offer any additional guidance here and you should rely on your solicitor. I suspect the issue they are referring to relates to what is known as a 'protective entry' on the register that states that the title is subject to any easements/covenants which may have existed prior to the 1968 deed but we do not know if any exist or not. This entry can appear where deeds have bene lost or are not produced so it is there to protect against someone coming forward with an old deed that affects
      In my experience in the past such entries posed few problems for buyers/lenders but the perception of risks has changed over the years and it is quite common for indemnity policies to be sought to insure against those risks. I'm not aware that having such a policy then poses a different or wider risk but your solicitor/lender may be able to explain why they think that may be the case. After all the entry and any perceived risk will still be there, indemnity policy or not.

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Neil Hartley posted on

        Thanks for your input Adam...

        Reply
        • Replies to Neil Hartley>

          Comment by John posted on

          Hi Neil,

          Just to add a bit more of my own story for you, I have since provided all my documents to the new mortgage provider (we are moving from one bank to another) and they were satisfied that the Title absolute in my name and the indemnity policy was satisfactory to approve the mortgage. I have also checked with a property solicitor who commented that the paper deeds are largely only to confirm restrictive covenants or access. He also said, "once you have Title Absolute, stop worrying." In my case, the property was only built 7 years ago on a piece of land that never had a house on it before, so the odds of someone turning up with a superior claim are virtually nil.

          Reply
  12. Comment by Jason posted on

    Hi, My mother is selling her house but has lost the deeds. I have downloaded a document via the land registry site that gives a title number and names my mother as the registered owner...so I think this means that land registry holds digital copies of the deeds and she needn't worry about the sale of her house. Her solicitor has said nothing can be done without the deeds to her house so will have to apply for them from the land registry which could delay the sale by 4/5 weeks. I'm confused...can you help explain what the position is please?

    Reply
    • Replies to Jason>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jason - as the article explains if the property is registered then the deeds are not needed to prove her ownership. I'd check back with the solicitor for clarification as to why a delay

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Alison posted on

        My father can’t sell his house either the same way as the person above solicitor says we can’t sell until the Title and Deeds are corrected. My dad paid on his house and come to find out he bought my step moms share out but did not know that the deeds and title are in his deaceased mother and father in laws name he paid the mortgage by himself for 30 years now he can’t sell his house at all.

        Reply
        • Replies to Alison>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Alison - I'm not sure there is anything I can usefully add here other than confirm that it's legal advice you need to unravel what has happened re the legal and beneficial ownerships

          Reply
  13. Comment by Troy posted on

    I am pretty disgusted at what I am reading here and am no clearer on the position than before I started reading. In 2016 we paid off our mortgage in full; such a relief. Cheltenham and Gloucester plc were asked to provide the title deeds to me and a delayed standard letter in the form of a flippant dismissal referred me to Land Registry. I paid the appropriate fees for "electronic copies of ownership, map" etc......but I still want the original paper deeds and have found both the lender and HMLR to be assumptive and unhelpful. C&G are now deceased and trying to find the right contact point at Lloyds Bank has been HELL. Somewhere in England the title deeds, rightfully belonging to me and my wife, are in a bundle gathering dust. I want the original documents and no one seems to want to help. Thinking of taking this to my MP and the press

    Reply
    • Replies to Troy>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Troy - I am sorry for the difficulties you have experienced and that you feel we were unhelpful. As mentioned in the blog, it is the case that we return the original documents to the person who lodged them when a property is registered for the first time - usually to the solicitor acting. We should be able to confirm this and provide any other information that may be relevant from our files.

      The usual practice where a property was subject to a mortgage was for the solicitors to pass the deeds onto the lender, but we have no control or involvement in this and therefore we cannot confirm whether this happened in a particular case. Many lenders converted their records to electronic format in recent times and their approach in dealing with original paper title deeds varied. Again, this is something that we are not involved with and you would need to continue to take this up with the lender involved and follow their complaints process if you remain unhappy.

      Reply
  14. Comment by Rachael posted on

    I have found the deeds to a property I no longer own. What on earth should I do with them?

    Reply
    • Replies to Rachael>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Rachael - I would suggest writing to the 'Owner' at the address to see if they would like them for example

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Rachael posted on

        Thanks Adam. That's a good idea, I'll try that.

        Reply
  15. Comment by S Scott posted on

    Can you please tell me which document I need to purchase from the Land Registry that would give me the details of any covenants relating to a freehold property.

    Reply
  16. Comment by Augur Pearce posted on

    A conveyance can easily impose a trust, and since the Register will never give details of that trust there are times when it is not simply 'a good idea' but essential to retain the deeds. Example: A gives Whiteacre to T (a trust corporation) for certain charitable purposes. Later T sells Whiteacre to B using the proceeds to buy Blueacre. If T now only holds register entries for Blueacre these may contain a charity restriction but won't indicate the purposes for which it is held. To ascertain those, one will need to refer to the Whiteacre conveyance.

    Reply
  17. Comment by Deborah Pottage posted on

    Don't no if I'm on right post
    I need a copy of the deeds of a property I no longer own but for when I did own it how do I get this

    Reply
  18. Comment by meg posted on

    Just paid our mortgage a week ago, and lender told us to order a copy of the tittle deeds from land registry. Can you please direct me on what to do or what application form do i need to fill up and payment if possible. Thank you

    Reply
  19. Comment by Clare posted on

    We have a certificate of lawfulness - how do we go about our next steps to gain deeds to the property or to get a loan against the property or anything similar for the future please ?

    Reply
    • Replies to Clare>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Clare - the term 'certificate of lawfulness; is not one that I have come across before. In England and Wales loegal owernship is proven by either possession of the deeds/documents inc a legal deed in your favour with unregistered land or a registered title confirming your ownership. It is that evidence that allows you to use the land/property as security for a loan for example

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by James F posted on

        "Certificate of Lawfulness' is a term relating to the planning system - try searching for 'Planning Portal' at http://www.gov.uk for more info.

        Reply
  20. Comment by AH posted on

    Are there any way that I can find out where in the prosess of registration we are? Property (new build) was purchased and completed mid November 2017. The address is 6 Widvale Road,Mountnessing, CM15 0FF. Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to AH>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      AH - I believe that one is Plot 24 on the development and the application was submitted on 23 January. The current average timescale for this type of application is around 66 working days so we still have a few weeks to go before I suspect it will be considered. If ther eis an urgency involved then I would recommend speaking to your solicitor and ask them to get in touch - they will know the process for doing so and the circumstances where we might be able to expedite the process

      Reply
  21. Comment by LeslieM posted on

    My elderly mother lives in a leasehold flat in Bushey, Herts. In order to query some actions of the managing agents, I am trying to obtain a copy of her lease, as she does not appear to have one in her files and the solicitors who acted for my parents' purchase in 2006 say that they do not keep copies of documents that long. Will the Land Registry have a copy of the lease and if so how do I go about requesting one? I have the property's title number.

    Reply
    • Replies to LeslieM>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      LeslieM - we may have a copy and I'd suggest checking the register first for the details. If the lease is refererd to and available then you can apply for a copy by post https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by LeslieM posted on

        Adam thanks for your reply. There's no specific mention of a lease in the deeds. Can I use form OC2 to ask for "the lease" or do I need to provide additional information?

        Reply
        • Replies to LeslieM>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          LeslieM - form OC2 is used to apply for a copy of the lease and you will need to confirm that it is a lease and it's date and title number as part of the form in panel 7. If you don't know the date/title number then you should check the register first

          Reply
  22. Comment by Laura McConnell posted on

    I disagree - a number of times I have telephoned the Land Registry before submitting first registration documents to be returned and I have always been advised that after the documents have been scanned they are destroyed & that I should request, when submitting the FR1, they are returned once they had been scanned. I think only once have original documents been returned!!

    Reply
    • Replies to Laura McConnell>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Laura - I am sorry if you have had a different experience re lodgement of your first registration application(s). Any original statutory declarations, statements of truth, subsisting leases, subsisting charges, certificates relating to Stamp Duty Land Tax or Land Transaction Tax and the latest document of title (such as the transfer to the applicant) will be retained, scanned and then destroyed. Apart from this, we will return the pre-registration deeds after registration.

      Reply
  23. Comment by Helen Aitken posted on

    I purchased a property in oct 2016, on checking the shaded ares on my deeds it looks like I have an a joining field, but neighbour said last owners gave it to her?, how can I check if this is true, surely there must be paperwork to prove this...do I consult solicitors or who

    Reply
  24. Comment by Pat posted on

    Was going to get my original deeds out of storage and keep them at home as I thought we would always be able to get copies if ours were destroyed. Now after reading the above comments I am not so sure this would be a good idea. Also if I do obtain my deeds should I check that the registry has copies of them?

    Reply
    • Replies to Pat>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Pat - It really depends on whether your property is registered with us as referred to in the blog - if it is you can check to see if we hold copies of any of the deeds but it is likely that most will have been returned when the property was first registered. Also, whether your are satisfied that the current storage is secure. That something you'd need to consider, but you may want to get some independent advice on this, for example, from Citizen's Advice.

      Reply
  25. Comment by Christine posted on

    We bought a property a year ago but didn't receive title deeds - although our solicitor forwarded a bundle of documents from when building work was done 20 years ago or so. Now the fence on one side of the garden has blown down and we don't know who is responsible to fix it - would this be in the deeds and is it worth me paying to see if any title deeds exist?
    If I can't get the deeds how do we resolve the fence problem?

    Reply
    • Replies to Christine>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Christine - If there are any additional deeds, they would normally have been returned by us after the property was first registered. You could check the title register and any copy documents referred to as filed as there is sometimes reference to the ownership/maintenance of boundary structures. But if found, these are usually only useful as a guide and our blog sets out the background to this - https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/27/drawing-the-line-on-boundaries/ .

      Often there is no information available and then it comes down to neighbours agreeing a way forward.

      Reply
  26. Comment by Liam posted on

    As a person living in N Ireland you may not be able to answer this query for me. I purchased my house back in 1991 via a mortgage, can you tell me if it would have been registered with the relevant body's via my solicitor, it was originally built in 1915? I have the original deeds at home as I'm now mortgage free.

    Reply
  27. Comment by Sam Miller posted on

    We bought a house in May 2017, the vendor moved to America before it was completed. The house sale went through but our solicitors have been unable to transfer the title to ourselves as the proper paperwork was not sent from America by the vendors in an English Law format. Our solicitors are now having problems contacting the vendors and HM Land Registry say we cannot have the title transferred into our name until they sign the relevant paperwork to be sent to HM Land Registry. We are still not the legal owners of the property over twelve months later and now we want to sell the property and move and we are unable to do so. We keep hitting a dead end. Can our solicitors apply to court to get an order to have the title transferred or will we have to wait until the vendors get the right paperwork sent from America.

    Reply
    • Replies to Sam Miller>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Sam - if a court ordered it to be transferred and a judge then signed the Transfer deed then it is possible yes. But in my experience that is very rare but your solicitor will have far more experience of how necessary such an approach would be here. You would have to convince a judge that you had done everything possible and that there was absolutely no chance of it being sorted by your seller and if I have read your comment correctly that is not yet the case. But as I say your solicitor will have more experience of this as we see the end result rather than what takes place to achieve that result.

      Reply
  28. Comment by Hugh Buckeridge posted on

    I bought a converted barn in 2014 and in 2015 I became aware of easements affecting my property which the sellers were also not aware about when they bought the land from the farmer in 2004.
    If this document was on my neighbours deeds (he purchased in 2010 from the previous owner who purchased the farmhouse in 2002)why is it not on my file if it relates to my property.
    If the conveyancing solicitor for the farmer forgot in 2002 to send this document to the land registry how is it then "forgotten" in 2004 when he sold the land to the gentleman before me.
    It seems no one is responsible for my legal problems for the last two years.
    In addition in 2015 when my neighbour applied to the land registry to add the easements to my purchase deeds the land registry altered my documents even though I had written a long reply disagreeing with each of the three easements within the 21 days allocated for a reply.

    Reply
    • Replies to Hugh Buckeridge>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Hugh - it reads as if the issue has been raised with us already so it would be wrong to try and consider it here as this is a blog rather than a forum. If there are issues with how we have registered the titles involved and/or made changes then I would recommend you pursue those through the specific contact channel already used and/or seek legal advice

      Reply
  29. Comment by Li posted on

    Hi. My Gran is a widow and have passed away last year. I searched online and she left no will. Her property was co-owned with one of her son (my uncle) who we don't get on with. I got a copy of the latest register extract to show that my uncle is the only registered owner. Without going through the solicitors, how do I find out how the full ownership was transfer to my uncle. If I request a deed for the property, will it show this information?

    Reply
  30. Comment by LJK posted on

    I am selling my late fathers property. Must I surrender the title deeds upon completion or can I keep them as a memento. Would they be available to the purchaser online?

    Reply
    • Replies to LJK>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      LJK - entirely a matter between you and the buyer. Once a property is registered the proof of ownership is held by us in the form of an electronic register and title plan

      Reply
  31. Comment by david dearn posted on

    My Aunt passed away recently and left me her house in her will i am trying to put it up for sale but my estate agent says that they cannot sell the house without the deeds to prove her ownership, My aunt lived in her house since shortly after the second world war and it was her parents home before that. I have tried the land registry entering the postal code and house number but they hold no records so what can i do?

    Reply
  32. Comment by Gary posted on

    Hi,

    Apologies if this is the incorrect portal but I was wondering; if you could help us with some info. We’re trying to determine the remaining length of the leasehold on a property and if a share of the freehold is included. I did look at the Summary of title with HM Land Registry but those details are not included. How can we obtain this info?

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Replies to Gary>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Gary- the leasehold register should confirm the date of the lease and the term. It is usually then possible to calculate what length of term is then left. If you used the Find Property Information service then that would not have given you the full register download so you may wish to obtain that to confirm.
      You would need to check the freehold register and named owners to see if the leaseholders were also joint freeholders

      Reply
  33. Comment by Andrew H posted on

    Wonder if anyone can help. As a residents management company we hold paper documents confirming owners will abide by the covenants of the close. My question is do we have to retain these documents and other general conveyancing papers after completion particularly in light of GDPR changes in May?

    Reply
    • Replies to Andrew H>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Andrew H - I'm afraid we can't advise you on what you should do here as these are matters/documents between you and the owners. I would suggest you seek legal advice as to the need for retention or otherwise as well as the impact of GDPR.

      Reply
  34. Comment by JeanR posted on

    Can you help? We purchased land next to our property in 1978. The bank kept the deeds, but have now lost them. A land search says the land was never registered. Obviously I would like the deeds. Any suggestion as to what I can do?

    Reply
    • Replies to JeanR>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      JeanR - If as you say the land is not registered we wouldn't hold any information on the location of the deeds. If you have not already done so, it might be worth re-checking with the bank to ensure they have conducted a thorough search. As to registration of the land, whether now or in the future, without any of the deeds this will be quite an involved process and most people would consult a legal professional, such as a solicitor, to act on their behalf. The loss of deeds may also impact on whether 'full' legal title can be given, but a solicitor will be able to advise you further on this.

      Reply
  35. Comment by JeanR posted on

    Thank you for your reply. I have been searching through all our documents, trying to find something that may help and came across this: New Registration Certificate No: LC/209113/81. Are these land search numbers? I would like to do a second search of my own but am not sure how to go about it.

    Reply
  36. Comment by IFC posted on

    Hi ian, im in the process of buying a house. It's probate. They seem to be selling it 'limited title guarantee', theres no relatives so im not getting a Property Information Form and now the solicitor tells me that although the house is registered in the deceased's name (theres a title plan and title register available) there is no 'electronic deed' available from land registry. How can this be if theres a title register? It must have been summarised from something originally? The solicitor representing the executor of the will doesn't seem to have a deed either. Can I still even buy the house and if so could this cause me a problem if someone turns up with the paper deed later? Could any of this cause me problems when I come to sell? thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to IFC>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      IFC - Hi. As to the limited title guarantee, this is common practice where the seller, in this case the Executor, has no personal knowledge of the property. You'd need to consult further with the solicitor who will able to advise you of the full legal implications of this.

      If the property registered, the electronic title record is in effect the title register and title plan. Sometimes a property will be registered but no paper title deed(s), such as old conveyances, are available. So again, you'd need to discuss this further with the solicitor who will be able to check the title register and plan as part of standard conveyancing process and advise you before you proceed.

      Reply
  37. Comment by JeanR posted on

    I just read something interesting:

    If you have land but no deeds, then you should submit an application to register it at the Land Registry. You will need to make a declaration as to how you come to own the land and for how long, including ownership and use prior to you...

    Is this true? And if so where would I submit it? I've checked the registry sites but can't find the appropriate place. Please help, I'm going nuts here.

    Thank you in anticipation

    Reply
  38. Comment by IFC posted on

    Also... the house is registered to the deceased as an 'absolute title' freehold. If theres no copy of the actual original deed am i likely to get it registered as absolute title for me when i buy it or would i have to make do with a possessory title?

    Reply
    • Replies to IFC>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      IFC - following on from my earlier reply, if the property is registered, the title register will give the class of title and that would be what you are buying.

      Reply
  39. Comment by StewartF posted on

    I'm a bit confused about how sloppy the holding of the deeds to a property are, the deeds are the documents to the ownership of the property, if you pay all that money for a property and are not given the deeds how can you legally own it? the deeds are proof of ownership, in my case i have a copy of the deeds, in theory someone could turn up one day and say that this is their property by showing the original deeds, i also received an official copy of register of title from land registry, why did i receive a copy? i own the property, i should hold the original as well as the original deeds which the solicitors have certified are a copy of the original, a very poor quality copy. On the bottom of the copy of the deeds it has a warning against altering, adding to or otherwise tampering with, to take a copy of it could be classed as tampering with the original, this would then be a breach of the deeds. You are going to tell me that it is registered in my name, if someone was to challenge that in a court with the original deeds saying they had been living in another country for the last 20 years and come home to their house and found me living in it i would be looking to you at the land registry for answers and you would tell me?

    Reply
    • Replies to StewartF>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Stewart - I am sorry you have been left a bit confused. As mentioned in the blog, our title records are digital. The electronic title record is the definitive record of ownership and whether the conveyancing 'deeds' held are originals or certified copies, they are not needed to confirm ownership.

      If an interested party needs to inspect the title then they need to apply to us for a copy of the electronic record. The 'official copy' is admissible (for example, in court) to the same extent as the original, i.e. the electronic record held by us.

      The most important benefit of registration is the state backed guarantee of title which provides for compensation to be paid to an innocent person who suffers a financial loss because of a mistake in the register (for example, a mistake due to fraud).

      If you are a registered owner with absolute title and in physical possession of the property, you are in a very secure position. That said, we essentially have an administrative role in registering ownership and other interests in land and so if any dispute did arise, you would need to consider seeking independent legal advice if you were unsure as to the way forward.

      Reply
      • Replies to ianflowers>

        Comment by IFC posted on

        Many thanks for your reply. So if the house is registered 'title absolute' to the deceased then it should be registered 'title absolute' to me when I purchase even if there's no deed? My solicitor seems to think the 'electronic record' of the deed is something different to the title register and title plan?
        Thanks for your time IFC

        Reply
        • Replies to IFC>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          IFC - the land register is held by us electronically so the 'electronic record' and register/title plan would be one and the same

          Reply
          • Replies to AdamH>

            Comment by IFC posted on

            Thanks Adam! So if I’ve seen the title register and title plan for the house (I downloaded it from your website) but my solicitor says there’s no electronic deed. Any idea what this might mean? I’ve asked for clarification but I received the same answer. Does the mortgager usually accept registration as guarantee in the absence of a deed? Thanks

          • Replies to IFC>

            Comment by AdamH posted on

            IFC - I can only speculate and supect they may be referring to a deed mentioned on the register as 'filed'. If there is such a deed or deeds then these are only available by post. They would know that though and have applied for copies as appropriate.

  40. Comment by Kieron Connolly posted on

    Hello

    I have someone named in the short particulars of the lease on my deeds and want to try and contact them to discuss freehold purchase. Is there any way of seeing more details such as an address to contact them on?

    Reply
  41. Comment by Concerned seller posted on

    Hi need help please!

    solicitor sent the following from Land Registry confirming discharge will happen .. but the Land Registry says there been a delay to the below:

    Application Type: Dealing
    Customer Reference: DISCHARGE_APPN
    Application Received By: None Recorded
    Application Progress: Delayed, Prior Pending Application(s) or Official Search(es)

    What does this mean?

    Reply
  42. Comment by Claire posted on

    Hi. Looking for advice. I'm looking to remortgage a property and add my wife. Mortgage company will require her name adding to deeds also. Is this something I can do via form filling and fee paying or do I need a solicitor to do it?
    Thanks

    Reply
  43. Comment by Nick Wilkinson posted on

    Hi, I received deeds from the mortgage company when I paid it off. The deeds show a charge still against the mortgage company. I have been on line and got a copy of the title showing them no longer on it, but this document says it’s not official document. Where do I get the official version that shows my absolute title, or do I send the original back to you to update? Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Nick Wilkinson>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Nick - the online register will be the up to date detail. It's not an ;official copy' which is what you would need for say a court or similar authority to prove ownership. You don't need an official copy to confirm what is registered as the online download does that for you.
      I suspect they have sent you the Charge Certificate - if so then simply keep that if you wish to. We no longer issue these so it has no legal value now.

      Reply
  44. Comment by paul posted on

    hi, we are currently trying to sell a house that has 3 random names dated 22 years ago in leases for the land, it mentions restricted covenants & over riding interests, apparently no solicitor or the land registry has any copys of the leases, yet it clearly states that this is a freehold property meaning we own the building and the land its on, is it possible that these names on the leases arent anything to do with our property and could be anything on the housing estate that the developer built the houses on? it was built in 1999, the buyers solicitor wants these names removing so its proving quite a task..

    Reply
    • Replies to paul>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Paul - impossible to answer other than if they are registered one assumes that they affect the property until proven otherwise. If you can't track the people down or the leases then it will be quite a task

      Reply
  45. Comment by Neil Croft posted on

    Firstly let me say I find the Land Registry blogs far more usable than the help pages for a "normal" person like me trying to avoid the expense of the legal profession to manage a fairly simple, small estate.

    I am about to send off the documents to transfer my late uncle's house to myself and first register it, and finally received the "deeds" from Santander today. Going through the vast bundle of guff they've sent me, do I really need to send everything and list it all on form DL or do I just need the conveyances and assents which show the effective creation of the individual property (it was originally the corner of a field) and its transaction history along with the searches I've done and probate?

    Reply
    • Replies to Neil Croft>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Neil - its rare that we need everything but what you do send does need to be listed on form DL. Practice Guide 1 section 4.4.4 seeks to explain what is required, and does steer you to submitting everything, but as you will appreciate it can't be specific as every case differs. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-registrations
      The 'guff' can be relevant to the title to be created so we err on the side of all being submitted as a result. Are there specific documents that you perhaps see as being 'guff'? That may help to identify why they are actually important and needed

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Neil Croft posted on

        The guide was helpful (I'd included a grant of probate but not a copy of the will!). The "guff" is primarily old land charge searches, which I presume are superseded, old mortgage documents now cleared, and original planning consents for the erection of the original bungalow.

        Reply
        • Replies to Neil Croft>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Neil - you'll need an up to date Land Charges search so anything 'cleared' is most likely not needed as we would be looking at the most recent result. We would not need planning details as we are looking at the land ownership and how that has changed, been burdened etc. The planning process is quite separate so such items won;t be needed by us when we examine the title

          Reply
          • Replies to AdamH>

            Comment by Neil Croft posted on

            Excellent! Thanks for the help. It’ll be in the post Tuesday.

  46. Comment by Stuart posted on

    I am trying to trace the ownership trail of a property, what is the best approach?

    Reply
    • Replies to Stuart>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Stuart - there is no one best or ideal approach, but there are some options open to you which may help in completing an ownership trail. As compulsory registration in many areas was not introduced until the 1980s/90s, previous/historical editions of the register may be of limited use if you are looking to follow a trail through many years. Please see our guidance 'Get historical registers' at https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/search-the-register .

      There may also be entries in the current edition of the register relating to older conveyancing deeds or there may be a copy of one or more deeds filed with us which may give some information as to historical owners. A document such as a transfer from the developer to the first house owner will obviously give definitive information as to ownership and the age of the house. Our blog 'How old is your house' - https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/26/how-old-is-my-house/ may also be of interest.

      This blog also sets out some other options for trying to locate historical 'title deeds' which may assist in completing such as trail.

      Reply
  47. Comment by Bert posted on

    My neighbours are trying to suggest that they were given a small area of one of my fields by the previous owner of my house and land (over 24yrs ago!). The deeds and land registry show very clearly that the land is within my boundary. I have received a letter from neighbours solicitor stating it is their land, and they can prove it.... Am I right in assuming that since the whole field is within my boundary that they have no claim on it and that even if they were able to come up with some old paperwork suggesting that they were given it by the previous owner (deceased), the land continues to be mine?

    Reply
    • Replies to Bert>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Bert - you need legal advice here as to what your rights, and their's, might be. If they are looking to claim the land for whatever reason then it is that reason you need more details and legal advice on. We would only be involved as and when an application to register was made. If the claim was seen to be initially valid and the land is registered we would then write to you at the contact details on your register to seek your view - hence the need to get legal advice

      Reply
  48. Comment by S Crean posted on

    Hi,

    I have been notified that on the copy of register of title on section b, I am listed as title good leasehold but to remortgage I need this title to be absolute. I’ve lived in the property for 25 years , the original deeds were destroyed in the war. However, further deeds in paper were recreated in 1960 using prints reproduced from film of the original deeds. I have those deeds and all paperwork since. Is this enough to get the title upgraded to absolute?

    Reply
  49. Comment by S Crean posted on

    The original deeds date back to 1935.

    Reply
  50. Comment by Adam posted on

    After payment, how long does it take to receive a copy of the title register? I am switching mortgage provider and there is a field for the title number. Is it important that I provide this?

    Reply
    • Replies to Adam>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Adam - if online then immediate and if by post then a few days. You will need it

      Reply
  51. Comment by Karen posted on

    We've just paid off our mortgage. We have the very long and formal old paper deeds to our house (which is late Victorian) but nothing with our name on it. I've paid to download the very basic information online which shows just our names against the property and no reference to a mortgage, but feel like I ought to have something more "formal" for when we eventually sell the property or if we need to prove sole ownership.
    Is it advisable to pay for that now or wait until we sell?
    And if I should do it now, is it form OC1 or OC2 that I need? (Unlike this page, the advice on the web pages with those forms isn't clear for someone like me who simply wants the paperwork with their name on it as owner(s) of their property.)

    Reply
    • Replies to Karen>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Karen - the title register (which I presume it what you've downloaded) has always constituted the proof of title/ownership. The only difference now is that it is held in electronic format and is available for inspection and download electronically.

      There should not be any need to obtain official copies of your title documents at this stage. The normal process on a property sale is for the buyer's solicitor to do this along with the other enquiries they make on behalf of their client.

      I am sorry you found our guidance on the GOV.UK pages unclear as to how to obtain official copies - we will take this on board. If you do decide to this, you will need to apply by post - OC1 is to apply for a copy of the register and/or title plan and OC2 is for a copy of a deed that is referred to as 'filed' in the title register and also for any deeds that we may hold but which are not referred to in the title register. Further details and links to the forms are available here: https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/search-the-register .

      Finally, as mentioned in the blog, although the paper titles deeds you hold are not needed to prove ownership, it is a good idea to hold on to them.

      Reply
  52. Comment by Ann T posted on

    My husband and i are divorcing and his name is on the deeds/mortgage to our home (due to me having no credit rating), but i have lived there with him for the 18 years we have had the house. We will be splitting our assets and would it be worth my while to try and get my name on the Land Registry before we sell the house ??

    Reply
    • Replies to Ann T>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Ann T - that is not something we can advise upon so very much something to discuss with your solicitor as to the best way to proceed. Your interest is presumably in the sale monies so it can be a question of ensuring that your share in those is protected as the Transfer would be by him as the registered owner.

      Reply
  53. Comment by Aileen posted on

    Hi
    I'm wondering can anyone shed light on my situation. I changed mortgage providers in 2006 and I received all deeds & documents to my home so I have them in my possession. I have still a hefty mortgage on this property. The new provider wrote to me 2016 requesting these documents but I have kept them. Does this turn the mortgage into an unsecured loan?

    Reply
    • Replies to Aileen>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Aileen - from a registration perspective only a secured loan is one registered against the land title, which we register, or protected through the Land Charges department if the property is unregistered. With unregistered properties a lender will often retain the deeds as 'security'.

      Reply
  54. Comment by Liz Pearce posted on

    We are in the process of selling our house but our buyers have a problem with their title on the sale of their own house, hence stalling everything. They bought their property in 1979 but it appears their solicitor at the time didn't ensure a previous Equitable Charge dated 1969 was discharged. The people holding the charge are a dissolved company & everything has been referred to The Crown, Bona Vacatia dept to try & remove this charge.
    No paperwork can be found.
    If the Company that was or any of the Solicitors involved or if indeed the Land Registry somehow didn't register the form 53 back in the day to release the charge, is the only option available that is left, is to get The Crown to vacate the Charge?
    Thanks Liz

    Reply
    • Replies to Liz Pearce>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Liz - The normal course would be for the Bona Vacatia dept to produce the necessary evidence / release but other courses of action may be considered depending on the individual circumstances of the case. It's really something for the solicitors acting to resolve with the parties involved and for them to contact us to try and resolve any difficulties.

      Reply
  55. Comment by Louise posted on

    Hi,

    My online estate agent has recently requested that I provide a copy of my land registry title so that they are compliant with HMRC requirements.

    I was hesitant to provide this information as I thought it was a confidential document but they advised they would remove my property from the market if I did not provide this. I had a copy of the official title in my cabinet therefore they took a copy of this. Afterwards I began to panic that I have opened myself up to some kind of property fraud as they already have a copy of my driving licence and utility bill. Can anyone access this official document, am I worrying for nothing?

    Louise

    Reply
    • Replies to Louise>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Louise - the land register has been open since 1990 so anyone can obtain the same details direct from us. As such you have not shared anything which is confidential it seems

      Reply
  56. Comment by Jim posted on

    Hi, I have some large conifers beyond my garden beyond the communial footpath and two fences, there is a waterway Just the other side of them, I am trying to verify ownership of these trees as I believe they pose a threat to my house I have contacted the council in the past and struggled to get clarification a relative advised me to look at the deeds but I only have the title not the map, I have now obtained from your site according to the red on it the trees are within the perimeter, is there some sort of document I can obtain with written evidence of the trees and water way and any potential documentation, I don’t appear to have the original deeds which may or may not have contained them?

    Reply
    • Replies to Jim>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jim - the title plan will show the registered general boundaries. If you are unsure as to whether the trees and/or waterway are included within those boundaries I'd recommend using a surveyor to report for you.
      You state that the trees are within the red outline so the waterway is presumably the concern so it may be worth contacting the Environment Agency to see if they have a view on it's ownership

      Reply
  57. Comment by Charles Lennard posted on

    Hi, I have a title to a piece of land, received from Land Registry a few years ago.
    The Title makes reference to the Property register and Charges Register with the words (in italics) :"Note: Copy in the certificate".

    To what certificate does this refer and how do I obtain a copy of same?

    Reply
  58. Comment by Tom O'Callaghan posted on

    We bought our house in 1968 and it was registered. Does the land Registry
    issue documentation proving who owns the house, and if so what's it called? Could this be used in lieu of deeds? We no longer have a mortgage nor have we notified anyone as we were not aware that it was necessary to do so.

    Reply
    • Replies to Tom O'Callaghan>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Tom - if it's registered then the electronic register confirms ownership. Anyone can confirm those details online or by post as the blog article explains

      Reply
  59. Comment by Anne Feltham posted on

    We have just finished paying off our mortgage and our house is now registered with the land registry and we have a copy of this which our lender sent us. I phoned the bank (lender) and asked them for the house deeds, but was told the land registry hold them and to apply for them.
    According to the information above, this isn't correct and the mortgage lender should have them.
    The house was originally purchased direct from the council in 2006 and we didn't need to use a solicitor.
    I don't understand what's going on here and am totally confused. We simply want our deeds!

    Reply
    • Replies to Anne Feltham>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Anne - the term 'house deeds' can mean a variety of things to different people/organisations. When you bought your house from the Council there will have been no old deeds/documents as I assume the house was one of many they owned. Your house deeds will have comprised the Transfer from the Council to you which then triggered registration. So the register, title plan and copy of that Transfer are in effect the 'house deeds'

      Reply

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