What Do I Do If I've Lost The Deeds To My House?
If you bought your property before the 1990’s, yours might be one of 15% of properties that are not registered with the Land Registry. This is, in most cases, not a problem as you will have the Title Deeds to your property to show ownership.
However, things do get lost and if you have been in residence for 30 years, it’s not inconceivable you might have lost the Title Deeds to your home. So, with no record on the formal government register of properties and no documents in your hand to prove that you own your home, how do you sell it? MG Legal, your Property Solicitor in Garstang, looks at the solutions to this worrying problem.
First step, try to find the deeds
Whilst it is less usual nowadays for Solicitors or Banks to hold deeds, in the 1980’s and before it was common and so it is worth checking if any bank you had a mortgage with or any Solicitor who acted for you on any property matter (sale, purchase, remortgage or planning application) has a copy. If the bank or Solicitor’s practice has been bought out, amalgamated or had a change of name, it is still worth enquiring with the ‘new’ firm as Solicitors would never destroy or dispose of formal documents such as title deeds.
It is also worth trying to find out if certain, limited, information has ever been recorded with the Land Registry, even if it is not the entire title, but some reference to your ownership or occupancy.
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Still no luck? All is not lost, you can apply for a First Registration.
MG Legal, your Property Solicitor in Garstang sees this problem on a regular basis, indeed given the above statistic, it should be no surprise that as 15% of properties remain unregistered, we see this problem about once per week.
Applying for a First Registration with deeds is a simple process. Applying for First Registration without the deeds is still entirely possible and we regularly assist clients with this. The first thing to do is to obtain as much historic evidence of your purchase of and residence in the property.
This evidence is ideally historic mortgage statements (you may have to pester the bank for these), council tax statements, other utility bills and any other document that evidences your living in the property as an owner-occupier.
You will also need a copy title plan from the Land Registry, showing the property you wish to register. With these pieces of evidence, the Land Registry will then know who you are and what the property you wish to register is.
After this comes the explanation as to why the deeds are missing and how this came to be. Usually, the Land Registry will want to know when the deeds were last seen, who may have held them last and why, if they were not in your possession, why they were in someone else’s hands. You will also need to show evidence of any enquiries made to locate the deeds and so, even if you make telephone calls, it is recommended to follow these up with emails to verify the request and to whom you spoke.
How likely is it my request for First Registration will be accepted?
In all likelihood, you will have enough information and evidence to obtain the Registration. It is rare for a well-supported First Registration to be rejected. However, for the best possible chance of success we recommend coming to a specialist Property Solicitor such as MG Legal, your Property Solicitor in Garstang.
We are, ultimately, talking about one of the most expensive transactions you will make in your life and so, to ensure it goes to plan and your sale, plus any subsequent purchases are not held up, we strongly recommend that you approach us for assistance from the outset.
What are the fees involved in a First Registration?
Depending on the work required, the fees can fluctuate slightly, but in general for a First Registration with minimal difficulty our fees are likely to be a few hundred pounds. At MG Legal, your Property Solicitor in Garstang, we know that people like a fixed-fee quote to ensure that there are no ‘hidden extras’ and so wherever possible we will provide a fixed-fee quote, indeed the vast majority of our property work is carried out on this basis.
Get in touch with MG Legal and we will aim to have a comprehensive and highly competitive, fixed fee quote for your sale and/or purchase, plus dealing with a First Registration if necessary, to you via email within a few minutes of speaking to you. Simple confirm your agreement to the quote and we will have the ball rolling the same day.