After many months on the market, your home is finally sold, now the transfer process can begin. But wait, your conveyancer needs your Title Deed, and you have no idea where it could be!
It is not uncommon for Title Deeds to be misplaced, lost or destroyed. However, this is a big problem for those who want to sell their property, as the Deeds Office requires the original deed.
What is a Title Deed
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a Title Deed is defined as a “document that states and proves a person’s legal right to own a piece of land or a building.”
This document proves your ownership of a property and is one of the most important pieces of paper you will ever have in your possession.
However, it is not uncommon for Title Deeds to be misplaced, lost or destroyed. This being said, losing a Title Deed is a big problem for those who want to sell their property, as the Deeds Office requires the original deed to transfer the property to the new owner.
So what should you do?
First things first, contact a Conveyancer, says AMC Hunter INC Director Sarikha Singh. “An individual cannot apply for a lost Title Deed on their own. This is done via a Conveyancer who has to prepare the document before it lodges in the Deeds Office.”
According to Sarikha, the procedure of replacing a lost Title Deed is as follows:
The holder of the deed has to make an application in terms of Regulation 68(1) of the Deeds Office Regulations. This application is made in the form of an affidavit which must include the following information:
- Details of the lost Title Deed.
- The Title Deed was not pledged.
- No one is detaining the Title Deed as security for a debt or otherwise.
- State if it has been lost or destroyed.
- State that it cannot be found and that a diligent search has been done.
- The circumstances under which it was lost.
Sarikha adds that; “It is essential to note that if the property is bonded, the bondholder must sign a consent confirming that they do not have the original Title Deed and that they have no objection to a copy being issued”.
After your conveyancer has lodged your application with the Deeds Office, you will receive a certified copy which states that it is a valid duplicate from the registry.
This copy now takes the place of the original deed.
Change in Procedure – Early 2020
As of early next year, a change to the procedure of replacing a lost Deed will come into effect.
As per communications received from the Deeds Office, these new regulations will have a substantial impact on the costs of applying for a replacement Title Deed, cancelling a lost bond and will inevitably result in delays in registration.
It will also no longer be possible to lodge these types of applications with other transactions.
These changes will require that (on top of the existing application process) your affidavit and application will have to be attested by a notary public. It will also have to be advertised in the Government Gazette and left open for inspection (for two weeks) at the Deeds Registry.
These changes will not only add significant time constraints on your property transfer but will also incur much higher costs.
Whether you are planning on selling your home or not, we suggest that all homeowners who have lost their Title Deeds should start the application process before the changes take effect.
If you have lost your Title Deed, contact the team at AMC Hunter INC today and we will help you start the process of requiring a new one.