What happens if you lose your house deeds?
Your house deeds are valuable possessions. You need them to prove you own the property and will need to produce them if you choose to sell your home. But what happens if you lose your house deeds in the UK? Read on to find out…
The first thing to do is to make sure the title deeds have definitely been lost or destroyed. If you’re simply struggling to find it, you might want to look a bit harder. You can apply for replacements, but it’s a complicated process. Replacements will also only be granted in specific circumstances.
Usually, applications happen when the house deeds – or at least some of them – were lost while a conveyancer or bank had hold of them. In these situations you can’t be held responsible for losing them as you’d given them to a professional, usually to obtain a mortgage or for legal reasons.
However, HM Land Treasury will consider applications relating to other circumstances, like if the house deeds were stolen or destroyed in a fire or flood.
When applying for replacement house deeds, you will need to give a detailed account of the events that led to the loss or destruction. HM Land Registry will then consider your application based on the details you provided.
It is often more important to prove who held the deeds prior to their loss or destruction than to establish what they contained.
When the title deeds have been lost or destroyed, HM Land Registry will sometimes ask a surveyor from Ordnance Survey to inspect the land before your application can be completed.
If you are told this is required, you may also be asked to pay a fee to cover the cost of the inspection.
Applying for registration of land
It may be worth using a solicitor or conveyancer to help with your application. There’s a lot of complicated forms involved and mistakes could be costly or lead to your application being denied.
As part of your application, you will have to provide a full and factual account of the events that lead to the loss or destruction of the house deeds. It’s recommended that whoever was most involved in these events gives the account.
You may need more than one statement of truth or certificates. It’s common for applications to include statements from: the applicant(s), conveyancers, and the bank or building society.
Your application will need to include the following details:
- Who had the deeds and where they were when they were lost.
- Why that person had custody of them.
- When, where and how the deeds were lost.
- The steps you’ve taken to recover the deeds.
- Whether at the time of the loss the owner had a mortgage on the property or deposited the deeds with any person or firm as security for money.
- Whether the applicant receives any rent from the property.
- Proof the applicant is allowed to apply for registration as the legal estate is in their name.
More details of how to apply and what to do in different circumstances can be found via the government’s official guide.
What if I have a mortgage?
If you have a mortgage, there’s a chance your mortgage provider will hold the house deeds at certain times.
If the deeds were lost or destroyed while your mortgage provider had them, you don’t need to panic.
You will need to obtain a statutory declaration or certificate from the conveyancer who investigated the title before the lender made you a mortgage offer.
In these cases you must also give details that prove the mortgage actually exists. You may also need to give proof of your repayments.