I have inherited my grandmother’s house where can I get the deeds?
Property Clinic: Her solicitor may have them, or yours may need to reconstruct them
‘It is also advisable to check if the title to the property is registered with the Land Registry’ Photograph: iStock
My grandmother died and I’m her only grandchild. I need to know where the deed to her house is?
I assume that you are your grandmother’s successor in title – that she left her house to you. You should first try to identify who her solicitor was. In some situations, solicitors will store deeds. If her solicitor does not have them, he/she may have some knowledge of your grandmother’s document storage arrangements or dealings concerning a mortgage or loans, etc in which the deeds may have been used as security. If so, it’s possible they are held in storage by the financial institution concerned, even if the loan has been repaid.
It is also advisable to check if the title to the property is registered with the Land Registry. If so, the Instrument (documents originally submitted to register the property and held by the Land Registry), contains evidence to prove title, and therefore should include a copy of her deeds.
If the property is not registered in the Land Registry but is registered in the Registry of Deeds, then that registry will have on record a Memorial of the Deed of conveyance or assignment (a summary of the deed under which your grandmother or her predecessor acquired it). This will be helpful to a solicitor if the deeds cannot be located.
The objective is to prove that your grandmother was the legitimate owner of her house
If the deeds cannot be located, and the title is not registered, your solicitor will advise on the best course of action. He/she may decide to reconstruct the deeds using available evidence of ownership and possession, including the Registry of Deeds Memorial, if one exists. This process may necessitate the drafting of an affidavit, which is a written statement of facts sworn by someone who has such knowledge.
The objective is to prove that your grandmother was the legitimate owner of her house. All relevant evidence concerning the property, including planning compliance certificates or easements, if such exist, and proof of duration of her possession, such as household bills, voters register, etc will support the statements in the affidavit.
You should also engage a chartered (land) geomatics surveyor, to survey the property and prepare a map to define its extent, ie boundaries. This map may be referenced in the affidavit.
The surveyor will also prepare a Land Registry compliant map. Your solicitor will then submit all relevant information with an application for registration to the Land Registry. When registered, you, as successor in title, will have a State guarantee of ownership of title to the property.
Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie