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Understanding Your Title Deeds - 10th February 2014 - Click for larger version Understanding Your Title Deeds - 10th February 2014

When we talk about title deeds, most people visualise a bundle of ancient leather bound documents written in quill pen dating back hundreds of years and talking in impenetrable legal language. Whilst the titles to some properties still take this form, this is becoming less common.

For the last thirty years or so, the Land Register has been phasing out these old fashioned title deeds and replacing them (as they register title transfers) with modern Land Certificates. These documents have a yellow cover and a black spine and summarise all the historical titles in one modern document (containing a plan) which greatly simplifies the title reviewing process.

The Land Certificate will generally consist of five sections:-

1. The Plan

This will be an extract from the ordnance survey map and will show the subjects shaded and/or outlined. Most commonly, the subjects of title are outlined in red, although other outlines and shadings may be used to illustrate smaller areas which have been sold off or are subject to certain title conditions (see later).

2. Section A – Property Section

This contains a description of the property – commonly being a postal address followed by a reference to how the subjects are outlined/shaded on the plan. This section will also explain whether the title deed relates to the ownership of the property or, for example, the tenant’s interest in a long lease. Where there is a lease, this section will also generally narrate the main details of that document.

3. Section B – Proprietorship Section

Here, we are told the current proprietor of this interest in the subjects (as mentioned earlier, either ownership or tenancy) as well as a note of their date of entry and the price paid.

4. Section C – Charges Section

Obviously, both in residential and commercial premises it is commonplace for an acquisition to be bank funded and thus, for there to be a mortgage over the property. Where this is the case, the mortgage will be “backed up” by a standard security which will be registered against the title. Details of the security will be narrated in this section.

5. Section D – Burdens Section

This is the most complicated section of the Land Certificate as it summarises the title conditions (if any) which had been contained in the old, historical titles. Some properties may be subject to no conditions and other titles may contain many, put in place over the centuries of ownership. This section will narrate the historical deeds which put in place these conditions and summarise their terms.

Each Land Certificate has its own individual “title number”. This will generally take the form of a three letter abbreviation for the Land Register county (for example GLA refers to Glasgow) and then a number to denote the relevant property within that county. One property may have several different title numbers, relating to the different interests in that property (for example owner, head tenant, sub tenant, etc.). Each of these separate interests will have their own Land Certificate.

The Land Certificate is simply a reproduction of the terms of the title, as held by the Land Register in their records and known as the “Title Sheet”, issued by them to the proprietor. Generally, the title deeds will then be held by the proprietor’s bank (if they have a mortgage over the property) or otherwise by their solicitors, in their deeds store in readiness for any future transaction.

If you have any queries on the foregoing or on any other matters relating to property, please contact our Ian Anderson on 0141 248 4957.

Last updated: 11.53am, Monday 10th February 2014

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