Registering, and storing, property deeds
Q&A: I understand that all remaining houses will move from the deeds system to the registration system when they are next sold.
Is it possible to move to the registration system without selling the house? I would imagine that, in view of the slack situation on the housing market, the registration authorities might welcome the chance to get through some of the backlog, rather than wait for the next upturn in house sales.
Mr NS, Dublin
You write in relation to a query raised a couple of weeks ago by Mr AO’C, whose mortgage lender and solicitor both refused to hold the title deeds to his home after he had paid off his mortgage.
The issue has triggered a lot of correspondence, informing me both of a number of lenders who no longer offer basic document- holding services and, on the other hand, of solicitors who would be happy to provide the service, some of them free of charge.
The plethora of data-storage businesses now in existence also provide such services.
Another issue raised has been the question of the role of the Property Registration Authority of Ireland. This State body has replaced the Registrar of Deeds and Titles as the “registering authority” in relation to property registration in Ireland.
I am informed that as many as 88 per cent of title deeds have already been registered with the authority and that the rest will be as and when properties are sold.
There is also provision to actively register title with the authority, and it appears this can be done by any person once the required forms are filled out. The process is outlined on the PRAI website, landregistry.ie, and, I understand, costs as little as €50.
However, I do not believe the authority will actually store the original documents, though some of my correspondents have suggested it will. To the best of my knowledge, the title is registered and the original paperwork returned to the person presenting it. Still, at least it means that the deeds would be registered if they went missing subsequently, which would make it easier to get access to them.
The site makes clear that the registration process in itself does not guarantee the effectiveness of a deed nor does it interpret a deed; it only records the existence of the deed.
Spouse’s mortgage a risk in absence of life insurance
I am recently married and my wife had an existing mortgage which was taken out in 2007. Due to a serious health problem she was refused life insurance but the bank waived the need for insurance. My question is, in the event of her death would I as her husband become liable for the mortgage debt or would she need to will the property to me?
As there is large negative equity in the property, she would perhaps be wise not willing the property to me!