If you had 2 minutes to prove you owned your house/flat, could you do it?

Author:

When you buy a property, conveyancing solicitors can expect to receive a bundle of papers from the seller's conveyancer, and after your conveyancer has received written replies to enquiries, received all the conveyancing searches, and ultimately registered your ownership at the Land Registry, they will have built up quite a considerable bundle of paperwork all about your property - and all of which is yours, and which is then used when you sell.

But it is so common place that when owners come to sell, they have no idea about the existence of this bundle and certainly no idea where it is. Often they do not even have any paperwork, not even a property deed showing their name as owner of their own house. As a result, considerable delays can occur not to mention extra costs can be involved in obtaining duplicate documents - the last thing you want in a volatile property market when buyers can get cold feet if they have to wait around too long.

Every conveyancing solicitor will give their purchasing clients two choices:

  • they will store the bundle in your file/in a separate deeds room they own
  • they will send you the bundle for sake-keeping, as their storage facilities are not big enough to store deeds for all their clients

What you should NOT accept is the comment from your conveyancer that “there are no such things as property deeds anymore as it is now all computerised by the Land Registry.”

This is a very unhelpful reply, and is a sign of a grossly inefficient conveyancer.

If you own unregistered land then you will have property deeds. Your deeds will comprise of a bundle of these conveyances and transfers, as well as Land Charge searches, all of which must start with your names (of course) and trace back to a period of 15 years from today. These deeds are yours, and should be kept in a safe place. Mortgage lenders used to keep them as part of their mortgage security but from around the year 2000 most stopped this practice, and so the whereabouts of unregistered deeds is crucial to ascertain. Did you take possession of them, does your Lender hold them (if earlier than 2000) or did the conveyancer when you bought store them?

However, if you own registered land, then it is true to say that the property deed naming you as owner is now simply a computerised print-out of the centrally held database record at the Land registry. Here is an example: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/4467/Official-copy-sample.pdf

However, ‘property deeds’ in the context of registered land has taken on a wider meaning, now that the historical conveyances and transfers have effectively been replaced by this computerised document. They are now widely accepted to additionally comprise – just like unregistered deeds still do – all of the following which were given to you when you bought:

1. the Property Information Form
2. the Fixtures and Fittings Form
3. any original guarantees
4. any new build warranty (i.e 10 year NHBC, Zurich)
5. any original Planning Permissions
6. any original Building Regulation Consents and sign-off certificates
7. any original utility installation certificates
8. any original electrical inspection reports
9. any original FENSA certificates
10. any original legal indemnity insurance policy
11. any original consents under the covenants in the deeds
12. in Leasehold transactions –

a. the Lease
b. Articles of Association
c. 3 years Service Charge Accounts
d. Management Information & Rules
e. Share certificate
f. Receipted Notice to the landlord of change of ownership/mortgage(s)

As a result, treat the above as a checklist of those deeds you need to secure for when you sell.

Home owners throughout England & Wales should be able to point to where their bundle of ‘property deeds’ are stored as they can be very important documents which can be expensive to reproduce – not least planning documents which can be over £30 each to replace.

When buying a home, always ensure your conveyancing solicitor explains where your bundle of property deeds will end up. Most solicitors will be happy to store deeds, even if they did not act for you on the purchase. A far cheaper option than storing them at your bank.

When you buy a property, conveyancing solicitors can expect to receive a bundle of papers from the Seller's conveyancer, and after your conveyancer has received written replies to enquiries, received all the conveyancing searches, and ultimately registered your ownership at the Land Registry, they will have built up quite a considerable bundle of paperwork all about your property - and all of which is yours, and which is then used when you sell.
But it is so common place that when owners come to sell, they have no idea about the existence of this bundle and certainly no idea where it is. Often they do not even have any paperwork, not even a property deed showing their name as owner of their own house. As a result, considerable delays can occur not to mention extra costs can be involved in obtaining duplicate documents - the last thing you want in a volatile property market when buyers can get cold feet if they have to wait around too long.
Every conveyancing solicitor will give their purchasing clients two choices:
• they will store the bundle in your file/in a separate deeds room they own
• they will send you the bundle for sake-keeping, as their storage facilities are not big enough to store deeds for all their clients
What you should NOT accept is the comment from your conveyancer that “there are no such things as property deeds anymore as it is now all computerised by the Land Registry.”
This is a very unhelpful reply, and is a sign of a grossly inefficient conveyancer.
If you own unregistered land then you will have property deeds. Your deeds will comprise of a bundle of these conveyances and transfers, as well as Land Charge searches, all of which must start with your names (of course) and trace back to a period of 15 years from today. These deeds are yours, and should be kept in a safe place. Mortgage lenders used to keep them as part of their mortgage security but from around the year 2000 most stopped this practice, and so the whereabouts of unregistered deeds is crucial to ascertain. Did you take possession of them, does your Lender hold them (if earlier than 2000) or did the conveyancer when you bought store them?
However, if you own registered land, then it is true to say that the property deed naming you as owner is now simply a computerised print-out of the centrally held database record at the Land registry. Here is an example: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/4467/Official-copy-sample.pdf
However, ‘property deeds’ in the context of registered land has taken on a wider meaning, now that the historical conveyances and transfers have effectively been replaced by this computerised document. They are now widely accepted to additionally comprise – just like unregistered deeds still do – all of the following which were given to you when you bought:
1. the Property Information Form
2. the Fixtures and Fittings Form
3. any original guarantees
4. any new build warranty (i.e 10 year NHBC, Zurich)
5. any original Planning Permissions
6. any original Building Regulation Consents and sign-off certificates
7. any original utility installation certificates
8. any original electrical inspection reports
9. any original FENSA certificates
10. any original legal indemnity insurance policy
11. any original consents under the covenants in the deeds
12. in Leasehold transactions –
a. the Lease
b. Articles of Association
c. 3 years Service Charge Accounts
d. Management Information & Rules
e. Share certificate
f. Receipted Notice to the landlord of change of ownership/mortgage(s)
As a result, treat the above as a checklist of those deeds you need to secure for when you sell.
Home owners throughout England & Wales should be able to point to where their bundle of ‘property deeds’ are stored as they can be very important documents which can be expensive to reproduce – not least planning documents which can be over £30 each to replace.
When buying a home, always ensure your conveyancing solicitor explains where your bundle of property deeds will end up. Most solicitors will be happy to store deeds, even if they did not act for you on the purchase. A far cheaper option than storing them at your