You can sell your property without the deeds, but you do need to prove that you own it.
If you can’t find the deeds to your house or they’ve been destroyed, you’re going to have to get in touch with the Land Registry.
The majority of homes in England and Wales are registered here electronically with digital copies held instead of the original paper title deeds.
If this is the case with yours, then panic over, because the Registry will hold all the documents required to go through with the sale of your property.
However, if your home isn’t listed then the process becomes a little more complex.
Proving ownership of your home – What you need to know
Title deeds are the legal documents which record who has owned a property, and any land, since it was first registered.
They will include information such as conveyancing documents, contracts for sale, wills, mortgages, leases and restrictions on how the property can be used.
Each time a house is bought and sold, the deeds are updated to reflect new ownership.
Property registration became compulsory in England and Wales in 1990. An online version of the ‘title register’ can be ordered from the Land Registry for a £3 fee if you’re struggling to find the original deeds.
It will include the title number, who owns it, what they paid for it, and any rights of way.
Problems can arise if you’re trying to sell a house that has been under single ownership for decades – maybe it’s an elderly relative’s home or one you have inherited. The original deeds have long since vanished, and the property isn’t on the Land Registry.
First of all, do all you can to try and track down the deeds. A mortgage provider, or a solicitor, involved in a previous sale may still have copies of them on file.
If your search is repeatedly hitting a brick wall then the next step is to apply for first registration of the property. This involves filling out an ST3 form in order to provide a ‘statement of truth’. Evidence will also be needed to build your case, most likely in the form of mortgage payment records, bank statements, who had possession of the deeds when they were lost or destroyed, what steps were taken to recover them etc.
First registration can be an extremely complicated process, not to mention time-consuming and costly.
For those wanting to forgo all the stress and cost, it’s worth picking up the phone and speaking to Hull Cash Buyers. Our friendly team has years of experience in dealing with these types of issues, and will be able to advise you on what your best options are.