Understanding the legal process – conveyancing – is key to a successful house purchase.
Buying and selling property depends on your conveyancers digging out information from official records or registers. The first thing to note is that property is legally referred to as ‘land’, which means land including any buildings constructed upon it.
Title Information Documents
If you had always visualised your title deeds as ancient parchments adorned with immaculate copperplate handwriting executed with a quill pen, you will be disappointed. In a bid to move towards the holy grail of e-conveyancing, the Land Registry have now done away with traditional title deeds, which are no longer recognised. Even if you found your old deeds stuffed under the mattress and dutifully sent them in, they would just be torn up.
From October 2003, all the relevant information about ownership of registered properties has been transferred on to the Land Registry computer in London – the world’s largest property database. So unless your property is one of the few that still remain unregistered (see below) your title deeds will consist, like everything else today, of documents stored on computer.
Many of us, of course, still like to physically grasp important documents in hard copy. So to keep us sweet, the Government introduced ‘Title Information Documents’. These incorporate the same information as Land Certificates but take the form of a few sheets of printed A4 paper listing all the important matters that affect ownership together with a plan.
But unlike the old Land Certificate in the title deeds, these documents are for information only, and do not provide legal proof of ownership. Traditionally, if you had a mortgage the bank would hold the deeds locked away down in their vaults as conclusive proof of their security. But mortgage lenders now rarely hold title deeds, for the very good reason that in most cases there aren’t any. Your mortgage lender also no longer needs other once-important documents such as leases, guarantees and copies of planning consents.
So don’t look too disappointed when the solicitor hands you a rather insignificant looking ‘Title Information Document’, which is really all your title deeds now consist of.
Our next blog – coming soon …….
Is your property registered or unregistered?
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