Reconstitution of Title Deeds

The modern method of land registration means that in the vast majority of cases, title deeds for properties in England and Wales are readily available from the Land Registry for a small fee.  An official copy of a register issued by Land Registry confirms your proof of ownership and gives you the right to sell/dispose of a property.

For old properties, or those that have been under the same ownership for a long period of time it may be that these have never been produced to the Land Registry for a first registration and remain as unregistered properties.  In these cases, the original bundle of title deeds are your proof of ownership and give you the right to sell.  If these become lost or destroyed, it can cause problems and can delay any conveyancing transactions that you may be involved with.

If original unregistered title deeds are lost or destroyed, it is possible to make an application to the Land Registry to reconstruct the legal title.  It is important when submitting such an application to be as thorough as possible to try and achieve a successful registration.

Land Registry will judge each case individually but they would need a full explanation of the following:

  1. How did the deeds become lost or destroyed?  Where were they last stored and in whose possession?
  2. What have you done to try and trace the deeds if they have been lost?  Have you contacted banks/building society or previous solicitors to see if they are being held in secure archive somewhere?
  3. You will need to provide a full description of the property and also a plan outlining the physical boundaries.  Once submitted to the Land Registry, they could decide to instruct a surveyor to visit the property to inspect the boundaries before making a decision on the registration.
  4. Details of your ownership or evidence of your rights to become the registered proprietor.  This would include details such as but not limited to, when you bought the property and any mortgages that were taken to buy the property.
  5. You will need to provide as much evidence as possible to show your use and occupation of the property during your ownership.  This could be in the form of correspondence from third parties such as building insurance policies, council tax statements, bank statements and details from the electoral roll.

You would also need to provide a signed Statement of Truth confirming all of the above.  Land Registry would then assess the application in full before making a decision.  All of the above should be drafted and submitted with the help of a solicitor along with a fee payable to Land Registry.

It may be that if the Land Registry are concerned about any unclear right or covenants and conditions affecting the property they will note this on the register to bring the possibility of third party interests to anyone in the future.

If the Land Registry are happy with the application, they will register the property and you will be given an official copy of the register.