I don’t have the deeds. Can the Land Registry prove title on my house?
Property Clinic: Your questions answered
‘Title Deeds show the ownership in addition to rights, obligations or mortgages on the property at the time of sale, purchase or transfer.’
My title deeds have gone missing. My solicitor tells me that the folio number (which I have) in the Land Registry is all I need to prove title. Is this correct?
Yes – and no. It depends. If all you want is confirmation that you own the property then, yes, the folio will confirm ownership. Folios are the method by which parcels of land are registered in the Land Registry. The title is State guaranteed and the good thing is that there are no deeds, as such, to lose. The folio and map (file or filed plan) are generated by the Land Registry and they are a snapshot of the title on the day they are printed.
The Land Registry is a wonderful resource: it is possible to search against owners’ names, addresses, maps, folio numbers and now Eircodes as well. It is a public record so bear in mind that while you can snoop (for a fee) on other peoples’ folios to see, for example, if there is a charge (mortgage) registered, other people can peek at your folio too.
If your property is land with no buildings on it or a house which was built before the planning code came into force (October 1st, 1964) and had no developments since then, the folio is probably the only document of title you need (presuming you have direct access to the public services – road, water main, sewer).
On the other hand, if the property has a building on it which was constructed since October 1st, 1964 and/or had any developments carried out since that time, then your documents of title should also possibly include planning permissions, financial receipt letters from the local authority and some certificates or opinions on compliance with planning permission and with building regulations (since June 1st, 1992) or building bye-laws (before 1992 if the house is in Dublin, Cork or Limerick) signed by an architect or engineer.
If your property does not have direct access to public services the documents of title may include a Grant of Easement or right of way to permit you to access roads/services, although ideally such rights should be noted on your folio.
To summarise, if the property is land, only then may a folio suffice as the document of title, but if there is a house on the folio (particularly a house built since 1964) then the chances are there should be additional planning documentation with the title.
Paul Stack is a solicitor at P & G Stack Solicitors