What constitutes title deeds in registered and unregistered land

What are title deeds

They are a set of documents which constitute the proof  of ownership of the property. They also show past transfers of ownership. They are necessary in order to transfer the property and so to deduct the title.  In England it became compulsory to register land on the 1 December 1990, since this date all land in England and Wales must be registered in order to  transfer legal ownership. It is necessary to differentiate between registered land and unregistered land as title deeds for each differ into a certain extent.

Registered Land

In registered land, title deeds comprise of official copies of the registered title, title plan, and any document referred to in the register. These can be found at Land registry. Land registry keeps a record of  all the information about that specific property in three different registers, namely, Property Register, Proprietorship register and Charges register.

Property register

Defines and describes the property, the rights benefiting the property, its address and must also include attached plan which must correspond with the real boundaries of the property. This register can contain any rights of way or other positive rights adhered to this property. It is important to read the wording of these as they may not suit for the purposes of the use of the new owner. Common right is a right of way but this is usually specified so that it is on foot only, therefore it would be no use to someone who wants to use a vehicle at that property. A benefit of an easement may be registered in this register too. There may also be a reference to a specific conveance which contains the rights which benefit the property. With any of these rights the Buyer may acquire an obligation and may therefore be required to contribute towards the maintenance costs, or adoption of roadways.

Proprietorship register

Contains information about who the owner is (registered proprietor), the name, class of title (absolute, qualified, possessory, leasehold), and entries affecting owner’s right of disposal.

Charges Register

This may contain various charges, covenants and any other third party rights with respect to property which may affect the owners’ rights. Common right like this is a restrictive covenant, which restricts the owner to do whatever he wants with the property and such dealings are always subject to the consent of the other person with the benefit. It is also important to check whether there were any past breaches of this covenant and make sure not to cause any as the liability passes with the ownership, like this you could end up having to pay or be responsible for other person’s fault. Charges register may contain other restriction sin relation to property e.g. mortgage. Consent of the lender will therefore be required before any disposition of the property takes place.

Unregistered Land

In unregistered land title deeds are not contained are set out in separate documents. A set of these documents is called epitome of title. Epitome is a selection of those important documents which show the history of the land concerned. E.g what rights and encumbrances are attached to the land, who is the owner, how is the beneficial title held etc. Epitome normally contains the list of contents too. The seller is required to show the epitome to the Buyer .Title deeds therefore comprise of conveyances, mortgages any other documents such as death certificates, grants of representation, marriage certificates, deeds of easement.

Conveyance  

Is a document which is an evidence of the legal transfer of the property.

Deeds of easement

Easement is a right which grants certain rights of way over the property which belongs to some other owner.

Mortgage

Represents a certain interest in the land in return for a loan. 

For leasehold property

Title deeds comprise of lease, if the lease is registered then official copies of that lease, any subsequent lease, landlord licences, rent review memoranda.

Lease

It is an agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant as to the occupation of the Landlord’s property for some consideration and for a certain period of time.

Rent review

It is a review of rent   amount in certain periods of time. It is important to see in the lease whether the rent review is upwards or downwards. Upwards rent review means that the tenant will not be able to have the rent at any lower rent than it is now even if the market prices fall. On the other hand downwards rent review means that the rent can only be less than the current amount.

Landlords licences

These can be: Licence to sublet or Licence to assign. May be given to the Tenant upon the agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant.