Things to consider when taking ownership of deeds

By Glenbeigh Records Management, Monday, 14th February 2022 | 0 comments
Filed under: Deed Storage.

What exactly are deeds? Deeds are a trail of legal documents that prove a property’s ownership. Each time the ownership of a property changes a new deed of title is drawn up to record the change, adding to a chain of deeds that go back to when the property was first registered with the Property Registration Authority (PRA) – previously known as the Land Registry.

 

How are property transactions recorded?

When title (ownership) is registered with the PRA, all relevant details about the property and its ownership are entered on documents known as folios. A folio is a document that describes the registered property, refers to a plan on the Registry maps, gives the name and address of the registered owner(s), and describes any burdens affecting the property, for example, rights of way or charges (mortgages). Folios form the registers maintained by the PRA.

Separately the Registry of Deeds, which is also under the remit of the PRA, maintain a register of memorials, now called ROD application forms, which provide a summary of the deed contents. It gives the dates, the names and descriptions of all parties and all witnesses to the deed, and a description of the property affected by the deed. When a deed is lodged in the Registry of Deeds it is not filed there permanently. An ROD application form is instead completed and the deed is returned to the party who lodged it for registration. The new signed deed becomes the latest deed showing the ownership of the property. The purpose of this registration is to protect purchasers by enabling them to search the records to be satisfied that there are no registered deeds ranking in priority to their proposed purchase.

 

Why should you keep your deeds safe?

Deeds need to be complete in order for you to sell the property at a future date. This includes having planning permission documentation and certificates of compliance in respect of any works that were carried out at the property. If you lose your deeds, replacing them can therefore be a time consuming and costly process depending on the property.

 

How to reconstitute my deeds?

To start with use the PRA’s online service (www.landdirect.ie) to search the register for the property title. If you contact them or attend their office, they will be able to help with the search. If you find the folio and are registered as the owner, request a certified copy of the folio with a copy of the file plan (map). A purchaser can accept the folio as evidence of title without having to read the relevant deeds.

Then request a copy of the ROD application form from the Registry of Deeds. The ROD application form however does not have the same legal effect as a deed. It only provides secondary evidence of the contents of the deed. It will however assist in identifying missing information.

If the title was never registered then it can be more difficult as no details will be registered with either the PRA or the Registry of Deeds. In this scenario talk to the solicitor who acted for you when the property was bought to see if they have any information.

The next step is to carry out a planning search, to establish what permissions refer to the property. Copies of any planning permission documentation should be obtained from the local authority. If the local authority does not have a copy of the planning permission documentation you may have to apply for retention planning permission. As part of this application architects or engineers may need to be engaged to attend your property in order to prepare Certificates of Compliance.

An affidavit explaining the loss should then be obtained from the person who lost the deeds. In most cases this is the registered owner, but in some cases, it could be a solicitor, or it may be a bank official should the deeds go missing while being held as security for a mortgage. 

The complexity, length of time involved, and cost of replacing a set of deeds is different for each case. To avoid this headache, it is worth investing in a suitable storage option for your set of deeds to ensure they are protected from getting lost, stolen or damaged.

 

Where should you store your deeds to keep them safe?

There are a number of options property owners can choose from when deciding where to store their deeds. However not all options are equally secure.

The first place that comes to mind for most property owners is to store their deeds at home. A house though could be damaged by water or a fire, leaving your deeds beyond repair. A burglar may even take off with your deeds.

To secure the deeds at home you may decide to invest in a safe. Not all safes are fire proof and the safes that are usually only resist fire for a certain amount of time. Considering the length of time from when you notice the fire to the firefighters arriving, the fire may have infiltrated the safe and your deeds will be the first thing to burn.

Property owners may turn to their solicitor to store their deeds but not all solicitors offer this service due to the cost of replacing lost, stolen or damaged deeds. If they do, they may outsource it to a storage provider.

Storage providers are in the business of offering secure storage. These range from deposit box facilities to self-storage units and records management providers. Deposit box facilities and self-storage units require the property owner to rent the entire deposit box or storage unit regardless of whether they fill it or not. Records management providers on the other hand only charge for the items (e.g. an archive box of records) placed into storage. They also take the burden out of securely storing your deeds offsite by collecting, tracking, securely storing, and returning your deeds when required.

 

Glenbeigh Records Management is a leading provider of records management services in Ireland and provide a Deed Storage Service from one of our rated vaults equipped with a fire suppression system and environmental controls.

 

Disclaimer

This is a guide for information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. As every situation is different it is recommended to consult your solicitor.

 

References

Citizens Information (2019) Property deeds. Available at: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/owning_a_home/buying_a_home/property_deeds.html (Accessed: 11 February 2022)

Property Registration Authority of Ireland (2022) Registry of Deeds Services. Available at: https://www.prai.ie/registry-of-deeds-services/ (Accessed: 11 February 2022)

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