Title deeds: what are they and why do you need them?

Title Deeds: What are they and why do you need them?

When buying or selling a property, an essential part of the documentation is the presence of the Title Deeds. These need to be there as proof of property ownership, but what exactly are they, and where can you find them?

Questions to be answered in this article

What are title deeds?

To simplify it, title deeds are a series of documents which prove the ownership of a property and the history of its ownership. They will include documents such as sale/mortgage/lease information/contracts as well as any wills or conveyance documents. The collection of these will be used to showcase the chain of ownership throughout that property’s history. 

A solicitor will guide you through the process of obtaining or producing one if you have not come into contact with title deeds before.

When would you need them?

When buying or selling a property. Typically your solicitor will deal with the details of obtaining the title deeds of a property which you are purchasing and implement the updating information (mortgages, contracts, wills). This will be updated in the HM Land Registry system and will always be there. Until such time when you pass on as an owner, or decide to sell the house, nothing is done to these documents unless you want or need to alter them in some way. 

If you were to pass away whilst still owning the property, then the title deeds may become important with regards to sections such as the will. When selling, the documents will be required so that the new owner can update them as you did originally to inform HM Land Registry of the new chapter in the property’s history.

Furthermore, if there was ever a dispute as to the rightful ownership of a property or piece of land, then the title deeds would be one of the first documents referred to when settling a dispute such as this.

Generally, the title deeds aren’t usually something you have to worry about, unless that is if you need to alter them in some form or another.

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Who holds the title deeds?

The HM Land Registry will have a copy of the title deeds for every registered property, which every property should be since it was made a legal requirement to do so in 1990. 

Usually, the original copy of the updated deeds are held by your solicitor of the time of purchase. However, if a mortgage was required when purchasing a property, then it is possible that your mortgage provider may also hold the original copy of the property title deeds.

How do I make changes to the title deeds?

The highly detailed explanation about how you go about changes each specific piece of the title deeds can be found on the GOV.UK website, but essentially, if a change needs to be made to the documents, for example you want a name removed from the property, you should be able to do this online via the HM Land Registry.

If you need any support with obtaining, altering or moving, Goughs solicitors can help you through the process.

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