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If you’re planning to put your property on the market in the near future, there are certain pieces of documentation that you will need before it can be officially listed for sale, and before any legal transaction can be undertaken.
So, do your property’s title deeds fall within this required set of records? The answer is yes – with some simple caveats.
Below, we’ll answer questions such as “can you sell a property without the deeds?”, “what are property title deeds?” and “where do I get the deeds for my house?”. Read on to find out more about how these elements of your property sale will usually work.
There are a lot of things to organise when preparing to sell your home – and tracking down paperwork can often feel like more trouble than it’s worth.
As a result, you may find yourself wondering “can I sell my house without its title deeds, or do I need to find them before I put it on the market?”.
The answer is fairly straightforward. While it is ideal to have access to the original paper deeds for your home, you absolutely don’t have to have them in your possession in order to sell.
However, if you don’t have the original deeds, it’s vital to ensure that a digital copy of the paperwork is accessible via HM Land Registry before you go ahead.
You can find out more about the Land Registry right here.
Just because you don’t have a hard copy of your house’s title deeds to hand, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost it. It may be that this documentation was never given to you in the first place.
Sellers are not required by law to hand over physical copies of a property’s deeds upon the exchange of contracts or on close of sale, so it may be that the paperwork is still with the previous owner of your property, or their solicitor.
It is certainly possible for a buyer to request that deeds are handed over as part of a transaction, but this doesn’t always happen automatically. Often, it’s sufficient to know that as long as you have access to an electronic version of the deeds via the Land Registry, everything will be fine.
However, if you can’t find an electronic version via the Land Registry – or you just wish to have the original copy for your own peace of mind – you should contact the conveyancing solicitor who originally helped you with the purchase of your property.
They will often be able to get hold of this deed from the previous owner, or from their legal representative.
Be sure to look through all of the paperwork you have retained that relates to your purchase or ownership of the house in question.
If you’re absolutely sure that your property’s deeds are not currently in your possession, the next step is to search for property information via the Land Registry. This service is accessible via the gov.uk website.
You can conduct a search using your home’s postcode. Simply select the relevant property name or number from the resulting list to find out whether your house is indeed registered at all.
If your property is registered, as most are, the results will take the form of a free property summary – and will usually reveal:
Using this method, you will also be able to discover whether there are any restrictive covenants or easements recorded for your house.
Restrictive covenants describe certain actions that the owner of the property is not permitted to undertake, while easements describe land-related rights, like rights of way.
Usually, you’ll have to pay a small fee to buy the Title Register in order to access this information. This often costs as little as £3.
There may also be additional documents pertaining to your property that you can access if you have a relevant account with gov.uk. If you do not have an account, signing up for one is very simple.
Your Titles Register and Title Plan are documents that contain a summary of your property’s original deeds.
Details that are usually included therein include:
If there is no information about restrictive covenants or easements in the Title Register or Title Plan, it may be that none exist. Alternatively, the contents of the Register or Plan may direct you to additional documents displaying this information.
If your property isn’t listed as part of the Land Registry but you do have a hard copy of the original deeds, it is a very good idea to get them officially registered online as soon as you can in order to avoid problems in the future.
If you are definitely unable to find the deeds to the property online or as a hard copy, you’ll need to rectify this before you can legally sell.
If you have a mortgage, it’s worth checking with the provider to see if they have kept hold of the deeds for any reason. It’s possible that you handed them over when you first applied for the loan, and they may have retained them.
It may also be that you gave your property’s title deeds to your solicitor or accountant upon making your Will. For this reason, you might consider checking with them before taking further action.
If you still cannot locate your home’s title deeds, you will most likely need to apply for new ones via the Land Registry. This action is officially referred to as a “Reconstitution of Title”.
The process can be complex, and you will likely need a solicitor to assist you, but it is often the only way to go ahead with your sale if you don’t currently have access to an original or electronic copy of your deeds.
Selling property without access to the original deeds is very easy. After all, as long as there is an electronic copy in the Land Registry, everything can go ahead as planned. You are not legally required to hand over a physical copy of the deeds to anyone.
Simply instruct a conveyancing solicitor and estate agent or other property sales specialist as normal, then follow the typical process for the sale and listing of property.
If your buyer requests a copy of the house’s title deeds, your solicitor should be able to direct them to its entry in the Land Registry.
This guide should have provided you with clear answers to the question “can I sell my house without having the title deeds?”.
If you need any further information on how to achieve a swift and easy property sale, all you need to do is to get in touch with us today. We can help you to sell your property in a speedy, stress free manner without having to pay any legal or estate agency fees.