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The bad news is that this is a complicated area; the good news is that in this blog we will give you some tips to answer this question. Should you need further assistance Kew Law LLP will be delighted to take specific instructions and advise you.
Step 1- finding out and obtaining a copy of the Title Deeds
Answer- Most properties are now registered as Land Registration has been compulsory in all areas for a number of years, but some are still unregistered. Go on to the Land Registry’s official website, where you can apply for copies of the title of the property by inputting the address of the property.
If the Land Registry can locate the property as registered, a title number will be confirmed as relating to the property. From there, The Land Registry Website can assist with providing a copy of your registered title (referred to commonly as Title Deeds) as well as the title plan showing the approximate boundary location and layout which can currently be purchased for £3.00 each. If, having obtained the Official Copies of your title, further documents are referred to as “copy filed” these will generally also be available for a similar cost. The filed documents will often contain matters affecting the property including restrictive covenants. In addition to these filed documents, restrictive covenants may be referred to in the “Charges Register” of the Official Copies.
The complicated nature of registered title lies in the fact that restrictive covenants may be found in more than one place and may be difficult/locate due to location and language used. It is further made more difficult as the covenant must be read carefully to establish whether it is indeed enforceable in any case.
If the Land Registry is unable to locate the property, it is likely that your property is unregistered land, meaning, the above process will not be possible because the Land Registry do not have access to the information as the Title has yet to be submitted for registration.
In this situation if the property is mortgaged, the mortgage company will generally hold all of the Title Deeds which contain title matters relating to the property. The Lender may be unwilling to release the deeds to you personally as they form security for the mortgage debt. If the property is unmortgaged the owner (you) should hold a bundle of deeds which your lawyer would have forwarded to you upon completing the purchase transaction.
Unfortunately to establish whether any restrictive covenants affect the property, it will be necessary for you Ito read through and identify the restrictive covenants that burden your land. This is a complicated process as no two properties’ title deeds will be the same. Whilst restrictive covenants may be located in a Schedule within one or more of the Conveyances/transfers in the bundle, there are further documents such as abstracts which may also contain such covenants. A tricky process indeed!
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