26 November 2020

Selling a property – Title problems (and how to fix them)

By Nic Sheldrake, Director, Hayes + Storr.

The easing of lockdown restrictions, a buoyant property market and the temporary savings on stamp duty mean that now could be a great time to make a move. In this article, I will look at some common title problems, which left unaddressed, could delay your sale.

Land Registry

As your solicitors, we will we obtain an Official Copy of your property title from the Land Registry. Initially, we will check to see whether it reveals anything which could become a problem and if so, help deal with it.

Unregistered land

Your deeds will need to be located and checked for any potential matters which may delay a transaction. Instead of checking the Official Copy, we will need to examine the title deeds at the start of the transaction and advise on any potential issues.

Lost deeds

If the deeds are lost and all efforts to find them have failed, we will try to reconstruct your title by gathering as much evidence of ownership as possible, by way of statements from the owner and/or the party who last held the deeds and apply to the Land Registry for registration.

Restrictive covenants

A restrictive covenant is a type of restriction, which could affect your land, for the benefit of neighbouring land. Little can be done to alter or remove a restrictive covenant but for your buyer, it is best to know if any exist at an early stage.

Rights of way and other easements

Your buyer will want to know about any rights your property is subject to and make sure it has sufficient rights for its intended use. Sometimes problems arise with shared driveways and services where one property may include the drive, pipes, or wires etc, but the neighbouring property has no legal right to use them. Identifying and resolving these issues at an early stage will avoid delays later in the transaction when everybody is keen to complete.

Hopefully, your property will have no title defects but if it does, very few problems are insurmountable, and we will help find solutions to keep your sale on track. If you are considering selling, we would be happy to check your title before you put your house on the market and prepare the contract pack ahead of the sale.

For further information about buying or selling your home, please contact Nic Sheldrake in the property team on 01328 863231 or email nic.sheldrake@hayes-storr.com.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.