Q&As

What could be the impact if the bank loses title deeds held by it as mortgagee?

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Produced in partnership with James Hall of Hardwicke Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 13/12/2017

The following Banking & Finance Q&A produced in partnership with James Hall of Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What could be the impact if the bank loses title deeds held by it as mortgagee?
  • Where the security title comprises registered land
  • Where the security title comprises unregistered land

The impact of losing title deeds depends primarily on whether the title in respect of which the bank has been granted the mortgage, comprises registered land or unregistered land. Note that in the vast majority of cases the mortgaged property will be registered.

Where the security title comprises registered land

It is unlikely that many banks (or other lenders) who have recently lent on the security of registered land would ever receive or retain the title deeds relating to such property. Since 2003, following implementation of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002), all documents at the Land Registry have been ‘dematerialised’ ie scanned and stored electronically, and even prior to 2003 many lenders had begun the ‘dematerialisation’ process where land was registered, requiring only some or even no title deeds to be sent to them. If conveyancing solicitors nevertheless sent the deeds to such lenders on completion of a mortgage, the lenders would often simply return them.

That said, there may still be mortgages of registered land in existence the term of which has not yet expired and which pre-date ‘dematerialisation’ or where, for some other reason, the lender has received and retained title deeds.

Of course, the Land Register should contain all necessary information relating to security properties such that sight (and therefore retention) of the title deeds is no longer necessary. However, occasionally some matters

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