A man thinks he own things, and it’s he who owns. So, you better set things straight on who owns who.
Whether you have a house, a mug, or a pen, you’ve got to know who possesses full ownership before deciding to do anything with these things. But that’s not the case with your property on equity release.
After reading this article, you’ll know:
- The technical knowhow in HM Land Registry
- The do’s and don’ts of properties with equity release
- Who holds the property title deed of a property with equity release.
As experts in the field, we’ve helped dozens of people build their ideal senior living conditions through research and practice.
If this sounds like something you’d want to have, read the article below.
Before moving forward with any equity release scheme, it’s important to ensure that ownership of the property title deeds is clear.
Fortunately, HM Land Registry has strict rules about ownership of property title deeds and deals with thousands of instances where ownership hasn’t been the subject of proper legal documentation.
Her Majesty’s Land Registry
As long as ownership is covered and correct, property title deeds won’t be an issue. However, it’s wise to be aware that ownership of property title deeds must be clear when applying for any form of financial assistance such as equity release schemes.
To officially record ownership changes or ownership transfers on the property title deeds, it’s necessary to register documents with Her Majesty’s (HM) Land Registry.
HM Land Registry1 is the official government agency for property ownership. They record the ownership of property, ownership of land, and ownership of buildings.
They were established in 1862 and are the ones who record the ownership of a property in England and Wales. Their ownership records are used by solicitors, surveyors2, and property agents.
Any ownership changes are recorded in the ownership of property section on the property title deeds so future buyers or lenders3 will be aware of ownership.
When a property is purchased or transferred, ownership must be recorded with HM Land Registry to protect the buyer from any future ownership issues.
Each time a property is sold or transferred, ownership changes hands; HM Land Registry records these changes. This way, buyers have access to ownership records, and ownership information is always up-to-date.
When property title deeds have been transferred, ownership is displayed in the HM Land Registry database.
Property Title Deeds with Equity Release
Is My Property Registered with HM Land Registry?
Before moving forward with any equity release scheme, you must know whether your property is registered with HM Land Registry.
Suppose your property ownership is transferred through inheritance or friendship. In that case, ownership of property title deeds will be recorded with HM Land Registry and displayed in the online database and on paper documents such as the property title deed.
A great way to determine who owns your property title deeds is by checking out the online database of HM Land Registry4 property ownership yourself. While you’re there, you can also make sure that ownership hasn’t been transferred to a family member, heir, or friend.
If your property isn’t registered with HM Land Registry, ownership of property title deeds will be unclear.
This means that ownership won’t be displayed in the HM Land Registry database, making it difficult for buyers to purchase your property and ownership transfer complicated.
If you plan to release equity in your home, ownership of property title deeds must be clear so ownership can be transferred properly.
How Can I Register My Property with HM Land Registry?
If your property isn’t registered with Her Majesty’s Land Registry, it’s time to get on the case.
Registering ownership of property title deeds with HM Land Registry is a legal formality that must be completed for ownership to be displayed correctly.
If you’re looking for ways to register your property, contact HM Land Registry directly, either by phone or email, and they will provide you with the information you need.
Basic Procedures for Registering with HM Land Registry Include:
- Gathering property ownership information
- Appointing a solicitor to help you complete the procedures
- Filling out the ownership registration form
- Signing ownership documents, or have them signed by an approved legal representative
- Submitting ownership documents for authentication
- Sending ownership documents to HM Land Registry
- Paying any registration fees required by HM Land Registry, which are determined by property value
Once your property title deeds have been registered, ownership is displayed in the HM Land Registry database.
This way, buyers have access to ownership records, and ownership information is always up-to-date. Before releasing ownership of property title deeds, ownership must be displayed in the online HM Land Registry database and on paper documents such as the property title deed.
Only after ownership has been registered with HM Land Registry will ownership transfer easily through selling or transferring your home.
Are You an Owner or an Heir?
Are you the property owner or an heir? There must be a clear distinction between owners and heirs holding ownership titles.
While the property title deeds holder is the property owner, it may be that ownership of property title deeds has been transferred to an heir.
If ownership transfer wasn’t official, legal documents must be submitted to HM Land Registry for ownership to be displayed correctly on the property title deed.
When ownership of property title deeds has been transferred through inheritance5 or friendship, ownership is displayed in the HM Land Registry database, showing who holds ownership of property title deeds.
Can I Get a Copy of My Property Title Deed?
Since HM Land Registry uses an online database6, paper title deed ownership documents are no longer issued. Property ownership documents are obtained through an online request to HM Land Registry, which can be done by simply filling out the ownership registration form.
When ownership of property title deeds is registered with HM Land Registry, ownership documents can be requested at the cost of £3. A copy of property ownership documents will be sent to you via email for free if requested.
However, HM Land Registry no longer has hard copies of property ownership documents due to security concerns and risk management.
The only ownership documents issued by HM Land Registry and displayed in the online database after ownership has been registered with HM Land Registry is the Certificate of Ownership – the property title deed.
Certificate of ownership is essentially ownership information on letter-sized paper. Some of the details written in your certificate of ownership include:
- Property details (including property address, market value)
- The ownership registration number
- Date ownership was registered with HM Land Registry
- HM Land Registry ownership registration fee paid
- Previous owner name and previous ownership registration number
- Grant Deeds7
- Leasehold Enfranchisement Documents
- Conveyance Documents
Since HM Land Registry doesn’t accept cash, money orders, personal checks, business cheques, or debit cards as ownership registration fees, property title deeds will be registered as soon as the ownership registration fee is paid by credit card.
If I Take Equity Release, What Happens to the Property Title Deeds?
When you release equity from a property, property title deeds will transfer ownership to the equity release company.
As soon as ownership is transferred to the equity release company, ownership of property title deeds will be displayed in their name on HM Land Registry records.
From this point forward, you’re no longer the owner of your property. You can’t sell it without permission from the new owner, even if ownership of property title deeds was originally transferred to you by way of inheritance.
Who Holds My Title Deeds When I Release Equity From My Property?
The ownership of property title deeds will be transferred to the equity release company that you are using. You are no longer the legal owner of your property, even if ownership is displayed in HM Land Registry records.
Can I Sell My Property When It's Held by an Equity Release Company?
No, you cannot sell your property without permission from the equity release company, regardless of ownership registration information displayed on HM Land Registry records.
What Happens to the Title Deeds if the Equity Release Company Goes Out of Business?
When an equity release company goes out of business, ownership of your property will be transferred back to you. You are once again considered the legal owner of your property.
Can I Have a Copy of My Property Title Deeds When I Take Equity Release?
No, you cannot have a copy of your property ownership documents when ownership is transferred to an equity release company. A transfer from HM Land Registry ownership records is all that will be available.
Property ownership is a serious responsibility. It’s important to understand ownership of property title deeds before signing ownership transfer documents.
The HM Land Registry ownership records are all online, making the public’s ownership of property title deeds easily viewable. If you’re considering taking equity release on your property, the new owner will be displayed in the HM Land Registry database as the legal owner of the property.
Ensure that everything is set in stone and ownership is clear before taking ownership of property title deeds and signing ownership transfer documents.