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What are title deeds and where are they stored?

Title deeds are documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property. Title deeds show who has owned land and property since it was registered. They also record any mortgages secured on the property. Title deeds can be used to legally prove ownership of a property or piece of land. They can include conveyances, contracts for sale, wills, mortgages and leases. As a rule, the original title deeds are seen when property or land is registered for the first time, as they are required to prepare the register. Scanned copies of some deeds are kept and then returned to whoever logged them. This is normally the solicitor or conveyancer acting on behalf of their client, the buyer.

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If the original deeds are being tracked, it is likely that they are with the solicitor who was instructed for the purchase of the property. If there is a mortgage on the property, the mortgage provider may have them.

If purchasing jointly, a deed of trust may be required. Firms such as Sam Conveyancing will have years of experience in these matters and can advise accordingly. A Deed of Trust is an ‘Express or Bare trust’ (which includes within it a declaration of trust). It sets out the individual interests and intentions of joint owners of a property. The detail of the deed will depend greatly on the relationship between the co-owners of the property.

Without such a protected trust deed, joint owners may have to rely on trust law to seek enforcement of their beneficial rights to property in the future; either a resulting trust or a constructive trust.

In a situation where the property in question was already registered when purchased, the previous seller may have failed to hand over the original deeds. There is no legal requirement for them to be handed over. Trying to trace the original deeds for a property that may well have been bought and sold many times over the years is going to be very difficult.

Do you need title deeds?

Essentially no, you do not need a title deed in order to sell a property, provided that the deeds have been registered in the owners name. But proof of ownership will be required in order to sell the property.

Who keeps records?

The Land Registry holds the definitive records covering property and land ownership in England and Wales. So if the property you are selling is registered, proof of ownership is not required. However, it is generally recommended that the owner keeps the original deeds as they can hold extra information about legal boundaries, ownership and other aspects.

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If the property isn’t already on the register, the owner can choose to apply for first registration.The original deeds will need to be submitted to the Land Registry. In situations where deeds may have been damaged or lost, the situation is more complex so it is always wise to keep the deeds in a safe and secure place.

To find out if a property or land is registered, it is possible to pay Ł3 to download a copy of the title register from the land registry website. If the deeds are then found to be marked as filed, it means that HM Land Registry will have a scanned copy.


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Henry Doe is a seasoned DIY enthusiast and home improvement, blogger. With over 10 years of experience in renovating his own home, he has honed his skills in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. Henry's passion for creating beautiful and functional living spaces has led him to share his knowledge and experiences with his readers through his blog, "Home Sweet Home DIY." His goal is to inspire and empower homeowners to tackle their own home projects, big or small. When he's not hammering and sawing, you can find Henry hiking in the mountains or sipping on a latte at his local coffee shop.