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Welcome to the first blog in a series of FAQs. This series will answer queries that our conveyancing team get asked by homeowners and house buyers on a regular basis. So, without further ado...

Can You Sell A House When You’ve Lost the Property Deeds?

Q: I have just accepted an offer on my mother's house who has recently died. Grant of probate has been given in my name but I cannot locate the title deeds to the property. Is the grant of probate sufficient on its own for me to sell my mother's property?

A: No, as the grant of probate doesn't prove that your mother owned the property.

You will firstly need to contact the Land Registry to ascertain whether or not the property is registered. If the property is registered, you needn't worry about the lost house deeds as the Land Registry will hold official copies of all the documents that you would require to sell the property.

What if the Property Isn't Registered?


The matter does however become more complicated if the property transpires to be unregistered.  I would recommend writing to any banks, building societies or solicitors that your mother may have had a connection with in order to establish whether they ever held the title deeds to the property and whether they still do. If they do and the deeds are in their possession the problem is resolved.

If you are still unable to locate the title deeds you will need to make an application to the Land Registry to re-construct the title of your mother's property.

The Land Registry will need to establish what has happened to the lost house deeds and what steps you have taken to locate them (such as writing to the bank etc). Your evidence will need to be supported by a statement of truth. Form ST3 which is available on the Land Registry website (www.landregistry.gov.uk) is a useful form which stipulates the information and evidence that you will require to accompany your application.

Read more: Top 18 Reasons for Delays in the Conveyancing Process

Evidencing Property Ownership


There is no guarantee that your application will be accepted but the more evidence that you can provide showing that your mother has lived at the property for at least the last 12 years (such as council tax and utility bills, bank statements etc.) the stronger your application will be.

Once you have collated the documentary evidence required for your application, speak to a solicitor as they will be able to further assist you with submitting your application to the Land Registry.
Finally, be honest with your buyers. Explain the situation and reassure them that you are taking the necessary steps to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Good luck!

Let Howells Help You 


Do you have a conveyancing query of your own? Enquire above today with no obligations or give our sympathetic conveyancing team a call today on 02920 404020. We're experts in property and conveyancing law, and are always happy to share our knowledge. 

Read more: Howells Win Gold for Best Large Conveyancing Company

 

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(main image: Flickr user Sarah Joy under CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

by Tristan Lewis

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