What are title deeds?
Title deeds are paper documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property. They can include:
- contracts for sale;
- mortgages; and
Where are my title deeds?
HM Land Registry records are digital, so they don’t store paper title deeds anymore.
Generally, they only have the original title deeds when land or property is registered for the first time, as they need them to prepare the register.
Land Registry 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 land registry have on file, start by searching Land Registry property information and finding your property’s title number. If the register refers to deeds being filed, Land Registry should have copies. You can then get a copy of your deeds.
Do I need my title deeds?
Land Register is the definitive record of land and property ownership in England and Wales. So, if your property is registered with Land Registry, 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 Land Registry. 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.
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Frank Ramsey. (2018). Where are my title deeds, and do I need them?. Available: https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/19/title-deeds/. Last accessed 10th August 2019.