Understanding Property Deeds and Their Importance



When you buy a property, it comes with essential paperwork that proves your ownership. One key piece of this paperwork is the property deed. Understanding what property deeds are and knowing how to keep them safe is crucial for any property owner.

What Are Property Deeds?

 Property deeds are legal documents that establish the ownership of a property and any associated land. In England and Wales, these deeds are recorded and managed by HM Land Registry. Whether you buy, inherit, or are gifted a property, or if you take out a mortgage, you need to register the property with HM Land Registry.

When a property is registered for the first time, HM Land Registry scans and stores a copy of the original deeds, returning the originals to the person who submitted them, usually your solicitor or conveyancer.

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Regional Differences in Deed Management

While HM Land Registry handles property records in England and Wales, property deeds in Scotland and Northern Ireland are managed by separate registries. Make sure you follow the correct procedures based on your property's location.

What Do Property Deeds Look Like?

Original property deeds are physical documents, but most modern records are digital. These electronic records are updated each time a property changes hands, acting like a logbook for property ownership. If your property has been registered before, you likely won’t have the original deeds, but you can always search the Land Registry to confirm registration and view a digital copy.

Receiving Your Registered Title

After purchasing a property, your solicitor will provide you with a copy of the 'registered title' from HM Land Registry, ideally within a month of the sale completion.

Land Registry Fees

Fees for applications to the Land Registry vary depending on the type of transaction, such as first registrations or transfers. Your solicitor will discuss the exact costs for your property.

Do You Need Property Deeds to Sell Your House?

If your property is registered with the Land Registry, you don't need the physical deeds to confirm ownership or sell the property. The Land Registry’s records serve as the definitive proof of ownership. However, keeping a copy of your deeds is beneficial as they can provide additional information, such as details about legal boundaries.

If you’re looking to trace original deeds, check with the solicitor who handled your property purchase or your mortgage provider.

Safekeeping of Property Deeds

Even though HM Land Registry keeps a digital record, it's still wise to store your copy of the property deeds securely at home. Place them in a safe location, like a filing cabinet or a dedicated folder, along with other important documents. This ensures they are easily accessible and in good condition for future reference.

Lost Property Deeds

Losing your copy of the property deeds is generally not a problem if the property is registered with HM Land Registry. However, for unregistered properties, the original deeds are crucial for proving ownership. If you lose these documents, contact the solicitors who managed your purchase. They can request copies from HM Land Registry on your behalf, although there may be a small fee.

If the original deeds cannot be found, you'll need to provide alternative evidence to establish your ownership.

Thinking of Buying a Property?

Chewton Rose is dedicated to making your property buying experience as smooth as possible. Our comprehensive Buying Process guide offers valuable steps and tips for buyers. By understanding the significance of property deeds and keeping them safe, you ensure your property transactions are smooth and trouble-free. If you're looking to buy or need help with your property deeds, contact Chewton Rose for expert guidance.

For more information and assistance, feel free to reach out to us.