The Land Registry has a central database with details of the vast majority of properties across England and Wales. Therefore in the vast majority of cases, if the Title Deeds have been lost or destroyed it is not much of a problem. However, for some properties (particularly those where the property has not been sold or re-mortgaged since 1990) the bundle of Title Deeds remains the key proof of ownership and therefore if those Title Deeds are lost or destroyed the impact could be very significant.
What to do if your Title Deeds are lost or have been destroyed
The first thing to do is not to panic! In the vast majority of cases, the title can be pieced back together and recorded on the Land Registry's central database. Our solicitors have a well-established track record of making such applications.
If the Title Deeds to a property are lost or destroyed before the property has been registered at the Land Registry, then an application will need to be made to Land Registry to "reconstruct” (this is often referred to as reconstitute and the words reconstruct and reconstitute are used interchangeably by lawyers in this context) the title. Each case is determined by the Land Registry on its individual facts but in summary, your application will need to include the following:
A full account of the events that have led to the loss or destruction;
A full account of the property including details of how and when you came to acquire the property and details of any rights, restrictions, obligations or mortgages affecting the title;
Evidence of the identity of the applicant.
Usually an application would consist of a set of sworn statements along with as much supporting evidence as possible such as plans showing the location of boundaries and copies of any historical title documents. Due to the fact that each case is decided on its own merits , it is crucial that the application is prepared by specialists with experience of such matters to ensure that the application has the best possible chance of being accepted by the Land Registry and the land is registered with an unqualified title. Our solicitors have handled numerous applications in the past, many of which in the context of a professional negligence claim against a professional advisor.