Property Clinic: Do I need new deeds for my old house?

A deed map will be an integral part of the deed of conveyance

Q Many years ago I purchased an old townhouse and I have lived there since 1975. I am now at a stage that I cannot maintain it and I wish to sell it. When I went to my bank and my solicitor neither seem to have my deeds and I have been advised that I now need to have a new set constructed as there are no maps or anything to be found anywhere. Who should I approach to prepare the maps for me? I also have a further complication as I see my neighbours' folio map shows a portion of my garden (a sliver all down to the rear of the garden). This is incorrect as they have never used or had access to that sliver. There is an 18th-century wall diving the properties. How do I have this sorted?

A You have been correctly advised that you will have to construct a new set of title documents or deeds. This is necessary in order to provide evidence of your title in the property so that you can sell it. A deed map will be an integral part of the deed of conveyance. You can commence by engaging a chartered geomatics surveyor (ie land surveyor) who will survey the boundaries of the property and produce the map for a deed and also a Land Registry compliant map if required.

You will need to outline the circumstances in advance to the surveyor. The precise location of the legal boundary in relation the boundary walls, etc should be clearly indicated on the deed map. Unless there is information to the contrary, the walls are likely to be party walls. The surveyor will add notes to the deed map detailing the nature and estimated age of the boundary walls. These details will be relevant to the information required.

Your concern in relation to your neighbour’s registered boundary is understandable. However the Land Registry operates a non-conclusive boundary system, so the boundaries shown are indicative only. When your solicitor receives the deed map he/she, in consultation with the surveyor, will advise in relation to the Land Registry and may be able the have the boundary rectified in advance of a sale in order to avoid queries resulting in delays. Your neighbour’s consent in advance would be desirable.


It is likely that the deeds of previous transactions, including your purchase of the property prior to 1975, were recorded in the Registry of Deeds. If so, the Registry of Deeds would hold a Memorial of such deeds. Memorials record key elements of the deed but do not retain deed maps. Memorials prove that the deed was executed and therefore are evidence that the deed existed. Such a Memorial will be an essential document in establishing your title in the property. Your solicitor will advise you on this and on the need for an Affidavit or Declaration to be signed by you which will include details of your ownership of the property.

In summary, your solicitor will advise on the requirements to establish your title deeds and the surveyors map will determine the precise extent of this title for these deeds.

Patrick Shine is a Chartered Geomatics Surveyor, a Chartered Civil Engineer and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland,

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