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Deeds

This is a collective term for all the legal documents and papers associated with the title to the property. These days they are rapidly losing their significance as the majority of titles are now held by the Land Registry. This is a national database which records the ownership of virtually 99% of residential properties. Any important documents associated with the Deeds will be on this system and therefore available on request in an electronic format as well as a hard copy by post. To the legal profession a LR title is proof of ownership as the accuracy of the database is extremely high with unimpeachable security.

The Deeds still record positive covenants but virtually everything else, including any negative or restrictive covenants are recorded by the LR. Under the Land Registration Act 2002, Deeds will become irrelevant and valueless. Strange to thin that building societies used to spend a small fortune on the secure storage of the Deeds for all property they had in mortgage. The Halifax, for example, has many miles of shelving in deep underground bunkers below the town of Halifax. The test used to be to have the storage nuclear bomb proof: today the space could become a mushroom farm.

The information is readily available from the LR for the asking and a modest fee – currently (pounds) 4 per item – this includes the title itself, the associated plan, any restrictive covenants, many easements, and all rights of way, plus the full lease where the property is not freehold. A copy of the title itself can be obtained by anybody for just £2.

With this information to hand your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will be able to draw up the initial contract. The buyer’s adviser can check any aspect with LR but mistakes are all but non existent – a mere handful although the LR regularly deals with several million transactions a year.

The LR will also have a full record of any legal charge against the property from any building society or bank which has lent mortgage money. Many lenders no longer bother to hold the deeds and rely on the appropriate confirmation from LR. All they then hold is a copy of the Charge Certificate.

The original Deeds used to be passed over on completion and sent off to the building society for safe keeping: these days the lenders do not want the unnecessary paper!

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