Types of Property Titles in Conveyancing

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In the UK, most properties are registered at the Land Registry. Their “deeds” are kept electronically. Yet, some properties are not registered because they haven’t been sold or mortgaged in a long time. Title deeds show who owns a property and its past owners. They include info on mortgages, leases, and contracts. These documents verify the property’s ownership history.

Key Takeaways

  • Properties in the UK can be registered or unregistered, with title deeds proving ownership and history.
  • Title deeds include information on mortgages, leases, contracts, and conveyancing.
  • Title deeds are used to establish the chain of ownership for a property.
  • Unregistered properties may have their original title deeds held by a solicitor or lender.
  • Registered properties have their deeds held electronically by the Land Registry.

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Understanding Title Deeds and Property Ownership

Title deeds are like birth certificates for houses. They show who owns a property and list past owners. These documents cover details like mortgages, leases, and any buying or selling over time. Their main job is to track who has owned the property before.

What are Title Deeds?

The original title deeds for a house are usually kept by the owner’s lawyer. Or, if there’s a mortgage, they might be with the lender. For properties that are registered with the Land Registry, all this information is kept digitally. This makes it an important part of the official records for property ownership in England and Wales.

The Importance of Title Deeds

Title deeds are vital in showing if a property is freehold, leasehold, or under other ownership types. They also include the property’s full ownership history. This is really important for both buyers and sellers during the buying or selling of a property.

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Classes of Property Titles

When a property is registered with the Land Registry, the owner gets a specific title class. This is based on the proof they provide about having the legal right to it. In the UK, there are several types of property titles. These include Title Absolute, Possessory Title, Qualified Title, and Good Leasehold.

Title Absolute

Title Absolute is the top title class. It’s given when ownership proof is solid and clear. This title is the most secure, whether it’s about owning the place or leasing it. It’s what most people get from the Land Registry.

Possessory Title

If proof of ownership is not yet fully clear, someone might get a Possessory Title. This can happen if the applicant has used the property for a long time. It’s common for places without a register or missing deeds. The owner can later apply to change this title to Title Absolute.

Qualified Title

Qualified Title is given when there are some conditions on the right to the property. This often happens when there are leases, mortgages, or other claims on the property.

Good Leasehold

Good Leasehold applies to properties under a lease where the freeholder holds a strong title. Leases with this title are secure and can be transferred easily to others.

types of property titles

Types of Property Titles

In the United Kingdom, there are two main types of property titles: freehold and leasehold. Knowing the types of property titles is key for both buyers and sellers. This knowledge helps in dealing with the complexities of property transfer.

Freehold Titles

A freehold title means you own the land and the property on it. This includes any buildings or land attached to it. Owners have full rights over the property. They can use or maintain it as they wish, as long as they don’t break the law. Freehold is often seen as the best type of ownership.

Leasehold Titles

With a leasehold title, you only own the right to live in a property for a set time. This is known as the lease term. Usually, apartments or flats feature leaseholds. A company or council, as the freeholder, owns the land and building. Leasehold owners must follow the rules of their lease. These rules might include payments for the land rent and services.

Leasehold periods can be short or very long, like 99 or 999 years. The length of the lease affects the property’s worth and getting a loan. So, it’s important for buyers to know how long is left on a lease.

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Registration and Cross‐Referencing of Titles

In the UK, registering property titles is important. The Land Registry has a key part in this. It connects both leasehold and freehold titles. This helps make sure everything is correct.

The Role of the Land Registry

The Land Registry keeps a clear record of who owns what in England and Wales. They keep digital copies of property deeds. This is handy for owners who want to look into their property’s history.

Cross-referencing freehold and Leasehold Titles

Pairing freehold and leasehold titles helps a lot. It lets tenants find the freehold property owner. It also tells new buyers about any existing leases. This helps them when they’re buying a home.

This process makes the property market clear and smooth. It’s good for both current and future property owners.

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types of property titles

Upgrading and Changing Property Titles

The world of property titles includes many options. These range from the well-known freehold and leasehold to others like commonhold. Sometimes, property owners might need to change or upgrade their title. They might do this to fit better with new needs or meet legal standards.

Upgrading Titles

Let’s look at upgrading from a possessory title to an absolute one. A possessory title is given when the proof of ownership isn’t all there. But if the owner applies after a while, this title can jump to an absolute status. This upgrade secures the owner’s rights to the property even further.

Making Changes to Title Deeds

There are many reasons someone might need to alter their title deeds. For example, after getting married or divorced. You can find the steps for these changes on the GOV.UK website. It usually involves a small fee. A solicitor or a conveyancer must sign the application. For complex changes, using a solicitor is a wise move to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Owners need to know what it takes to update titles or deeds. Making sure your property’s legal documents are accurate is crucial. Understanding the different types of property titles and deeds helps you manage these tasks with ease. It also keeps your property legally safe.


In property conveyancing, knowing the different types of property titles is crucial for UK owners and buyers. The key classes are Title Absolute, Possessory Title, Qualified Title, and Good Leasehold. Each type has its special features and impacts. Changing titles or deeds usually needs a solicitor’s help.

Understanding the many property titles helps people when they deal with their freehold or leasehold houses. Firstly, it makes handling commonhold, share of freehold, and others easier. Secondly, this knowledge safeguards their interests and makes title deeds actions run smoothly.

Firstly, keeping up with property laws and trends helps property owners and buyers. It lets them make smart choices and avoid mistakes. Secondly, knowing about property titles sets the stage for a successful, worry-free experience with UK properties.

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What are title deeds?

Title deeds prove who owns a property and show its owner’s history. They may have mortgage details, leases, and contracts. These documents show who owned the property before the current owner.

What is the difference between registered and unregistered properties?

Unregistered property deeds are usually kept by your solicitor or lender if you have a mortgage. For registered properties, the Land Registry in England and Wales keeps the electronic deeds. These deeds are the official record of who owns the property.

What are the classes of property titles?

There are several classes of property titles, like Title Absolute and Possessory Title. The following titles are documented in the Proprietorship Register section of the Official Copies. Different types of properties have different title classes.

What is the difference between freehold and leasehold titles?

Basically, freehold titles mean you fully own the property. Leasehold titles show you’re leasing it for a long period.

How are freehold and leasehold titles cross-referenced?

When a lease is registered, it links to the freehold title and the freehold title links to it. This linking lets people know about the lease, even if the property changes hands.

Can property titles be upgraded or changed?

Yes, possessory titles can be changed to absolute after some time. Title deeds might also change, for example, after a name change from marriage or divorce. Furthermore, a solicitor or a conveyancer can help with this, often for a small fee.

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