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Reconstituting Lost House Title Deeds

Live On Air Call from Joseph

Live-on-Air call from Joseph.

“Hi Declan, Hi Brian. I bought a house from my sister which she had bought from our parents some years previously. The Deeds have now gone missing and I’d like to know where the deeds are. The house itself is about 150 years old virtually unchanged over that time and I wonder what I can do in case I’d ever want to sell or at least have the deeds when the mortgage is finished.”

Hi Joseph. I don’t know what can be done about finding the actual deeds – if they’re lost they’re lost but the good news is that you can act on this immediately yourself.

 Get in touch with the Land Registry (now called The Property Registration Authority) www.landregistry.ie or their online service www.landdirect.ie. Given that you will be carrying out some searches it may be best to go to the Land Registry Office yourself and they will help you.

What you need to do is as follows:

  1. Check the Register (an index of names of registered titles which will have the corresponding address of the property and the Folio number  - like a car registration number). See if your name is registered as owner. If so requisition a copy of the folio with a copy of the file plan (map). This will be your main document of title.
  2. If you are not registered check your sister’s name and follow the same procedure.
  3. If she is not registered then check if your parents’ names are registered and again follow the same procedure.
  4. If there are none of your family members’ names are registered, go to the Mapping Section of the Land Registry and look for the property on the map. There should be a corresponding Folio number with the title map.
  5. If there are none of your family members’ names are registered and there is no corresponding mapping entry, it is probable that the type of title is a very old one called “Unregistered Land” title – usually represented by a large amount of deeds (which are now, of course lost). There will still be records of these Deeds and the Registry of Deeds section of the Property Registry Authority will be able to help with searches for those records which are called “Memorials”. You should requisition certified copies of these.

This process could take from 5 minutes up to 2 hours or so but you will get what you are looking for and that will reconstitute the basic title.

Next in line is Planning Permission Documentation. As the property is 150 years old and there have been no extensions or other developments to speak of since 1964 then no planning documents will be required.

This will see the title about 95% reconstituted and if you ever come to sell the property, the rest of the documentation (certificates of roads being in charge etc) can be dealt with in the sale process.

If in all of the searches there is no record of your name (or indeed your sister’s name) being registered, then a new deed will have to be done and that’s a matter for a solicitor. It will be important to take early action if this is the case because stamp duty will have been paid and the Revenue will have to be contacted while they still have the records of payent. The cost of the new deed(s) should be borne by whoever is responsible for losing the deeds – there should be a paper trail about this because every time deeds are sent from one office to another (say from a solicitor to a building society, a detailed receipt setting out each document sent is prepared and signed on delivery. The last office having signed off on one of these receipts is legally presumed to be the last custodian of the deeds and is responsible.

 

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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