Do you know where the title deeds to your property are? Written by Carla Smyth

Whether you are thinking of selling your property in the near or distant future, this is a question worth asking yourself. In order for you to sell your property in Ireland, you will need the title deeds to the property to do so.

What are title deeds?

  • The title deeds are a set of physical legal documents which confirm your ownership of the property. These can include deeds such as a deed of conveyance, indenture of lease, fee farm grant and indenture of assigment.
  • If you have taken out a mortgage over the property, the title deeds should be held by the lending institution who you took out the mortgage with. However, if the mortgage has since been paid off, the title deeds should be in the possession of the owner of the property.

What type of title do I have?

Your title to your property may be either registered or unregistered. The issue of having lost or mislaid your title deeds is typically more relevant where you have an unregistered title to your property.

  • Unregistered Title: title which is unregistered is recorded through the registry of deeds system which records the existence of a title deed, whilst the owner of the property holds onto the original deed.
  • Registered Title: title which is registered with the Land Registry which provides a state guarantee to the property. When your property is registered you will be given a folio number which will record your details as well as every subsequent transaction in respect of that property. The Land Registry maintains a centralised digital database where anyone can verify the ownership of a particular property. Therefore, there is less of an issue if you have lost or mislaid your title deeds where the land is registered.

It is now compulsory to apply for registration in the Land Registry for unregistered title and around 90% of all legal property titles in Ireland have now been registered1. However, it is still common today to have unregistered title, particularly in urban areas such as Cork and Dublin.

What are the risks associated with losing your title deeds?

  • There is a risk that it will be difficult to show you have good and marketable title to the property which will affect your ability to sell the property as well as a purchaser’s ability to secure a mortgage over the property.
  • There is also a risk that someone who has gotten their hands on the missing deeds claims an interest in the property or deposits such deeds with a lending institution that then gives them priority over your ownership in the property.
  • There is a further risk that an unknown right or restrictive covenant (ie a promise not to carry out certain acts on or to a property) contained in the missing title deeds for the property is enforced against the current owner of the property. An example of a restrictive covenant would be a promise not to carry out any business or trade on the property.

How can DUAL Asset help?

We can provide you with a policy in relation to the missing deeds. Our policy can list the purchaser of the property as the insured party to give comfort to the purchaser that they are protected should any issues arise in relation to the missing deeds. This can ensure the sale runs as smoothly as possible which can help lending to be secured by the purchaser and everyone is happy.

DUAL Asset is your trusted title policy provider and here are just some of the benefits of opting for DUAL Asset for your title policy:

  • we endeavour to provide you competitive fee quotes within 24 hours of receiving your enquiry to cover the full market value of the property;
  • our policies generally cover the insured parties for as long as they have an interest in the asset(s) (i.e. there is no time limit on our policies);
  • our policies cover the purchaser as the insured party as well as their successors in title and any lending institution who is taking security over the property;
  • our policies can also cover the Property Registration Authority and the State;
  • our policy limit can increase based on the increase in the market value inflation of the property after the policy is put on risk up to a maximum of twice the policy amount; and
  • in the event of a claim, our policy covers all approved legal costs in defending the claim and such costs will not reduce the policy limit.

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have a client who has lost or mislaid their title deeds and we will be happy to provide you with a quote.