If you need copies of your Deeds you can obtain these online from Land Registry via: https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/copies-of-deeds
Property Deeds are now called Official Copies of Registered Title and these are recorded online at Land Registry. Your Conveyancer will refer to them as the office copies. You will not receive a bundle of historic paper deeds when you buy a property. The office copies are a summary of the old paper deeds and show current owner, lender, rights and covenants or conditions affecting the property.
Office copies are available to anyone for a small fee (around £12 per title). Each parcel of land has its own title. Anyone can pay for and order office copies for a UK address. Your office copies are not private or confidential.
Land Registry is a Government body. Under UK legislation they maintain these records and each property is given a unique title number. When you buy a property, your Conveyancer must update Land Registry records to record change of ownership. We call this registration at Land Registry. When you sell property we download the office copies to prove your ownership and issue a draft contract pack to the buyer’s Conveyancer. When you remortgage your Conveyancer applies to the Registry to discharge the repaid mortgage and register the new mortgage.
If you are selling or remortgaging and the Registry have not completed your purchase registration then you will need to request that this is expedited.
It is worth noting that there are huge backlogs at Land Registry. This has been the case for years now and pre-dates Covid. As expected Covid exacerbated the delays. It can now take 12 months, or more, to update the Register. This causes issues when selling or remortgaging.
ESTATES & PROBATE
Where dealing with a family estate, or a loved one passing, you need to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry before you can deal with their assets. A Grant of Probate gives you the authority to do so.
The Probate Registry is a Government agency. Apply for Probate via this weblink:
You will need to supply evidence that you are entitled to deal with the estate and assets and that you are related to the deceased. Obtaining Probate takes a long time. Again there are delays as this is a Government body and typically under staffed. Current timescales are approximately 10 to 12 months. Bear this in mind when marketing the property. If a buyer is found before Probate is granted then manage expectations as otherwise this causes great frustration.
The beneficiaries of a Will can seek to Assent the property into their names and update the register (office copies) at Land Registry. Please see link here:
You will need the Will, Grant of Probate, ID1 form (evidencing your identity) and various documents in support of your application. You do not need to instruct a Conveyancer but it is beneficial as they have expertise and can deal with Land Registry requisitions (or questions). It is worth noting that strenuous ID requirements must be satisfied before the Registry will update the office copies. This ensures no property or identity fraud has occurred. The Government has made Conveyancers and Land Registry the front line for combatting Property / ID fraud and criminal activity.
The Registry is known for being pedantic and exacting. They are also slow and understaffed. There is now a backlog at the Registry of approximately 10 to 12 months following Covid