Scottish Title Deeds Explained
If you're looking for the title deeds to a property in Scotland - for your own home, or that of a relative or friend, or someone who has died - you can order these online for a small cost (between £3.60 and £30.00). Read on for more information on how to order title deeds, and what to look for once you have the deeds to hand...
Where are the title deeds held?
If the owner(s) of the property have a mortgage in place, it's likely that the mortgage company will hold the original paper title deeds in their Deeds Department. If there's no mortgage (or if it's been paid-off in full), the title deeds may have been posted back to the owner(s) for safe-keeping, so they could be in the house somewhere.
Either way, all title deeds in Scotland have been digitised - meaning that you can order electronic, up-to-date copies of the title deeds to any property in Scotland at the click of a button, regardless of where the original papers are currently held.
How do I order copy title deeds?
The Scottish Government has a website (https://scotlis.ros.gov.uk/) which allows you to search for a property using its postcode. If the property is held on the Land Register (i.e. the "new" property register in Scotland), you will be able to obtain copy title deeds immediately via email for under £5.00
If the property is held on the old property register (known as the Sasine Register), you can still order copy title deeds, but it'll be a little more expensive (around £30.00 minimum) and it'll take longer to get the copies emailed to you.
Why is it important to examine the title deeds?
Because you'll want to know you who actually owns the property, as well as the exact boundaries of the property, if there are any mortgages or securities still held over the property, and if the owner(s) have responsibility to maintain or repair common areas of the property.
The title deeds will be very important in determining what will happen in the event of the death of the owner(s) - so you'll definitely need up-to-date copies of the title deeds if you're making a Will or dealing with the estate of someone who has died.
The legal owner has died, but someone else lives in the house. Do I need to do anything?
Yes, the first thing you should do is order a copy of the title deeds to the house. Visit the Scotlis website (https://scotlis.ros.gov.uk/) and you'll be able to get these documents emailed to you.
Section B (Proprietorship) of the Land Register will show you the name(s) of the legal owner(s) of the property. If more than one person is shown at Section B, then you'll need to check if the words "...and the survivor of them" (or any variation, with the word "survivor") appears after all the owners' names. If that wording appears in Section B, the deceased's ownership share will have automatically transferred into the survivor's/survivors' name(s).
If the wording does not appear, then the deceased's share will remain in their estate - meaning that you'll need Confirmation (see: https://www.weirlaw.co.uk/confirmation-probate-in-scotland ) to the estate to release the deceased's ownership share of the property.
The mortgage company has told me to get the mortgage "discharged". What does this mean?
If you've paid-off your mortgage, the mortgage company will remain on your title deeds until such time as you get a solicitor to formally remove (or "discharge") the mortgage from your title deeds.
This is a relatively straightforward procedure, but it's very important. If your property is to be sold or transferred to someone else in the future, you'll need to have "clear title" - meaning that the title deeds must show that there are no existing or historic mortgages showing on your title deeds.
If you've paid-off your mortgage recently (or a long time ago), get in touch with us today on 0141 628 5544 / firstname.lastname@example.org to get the mortgage discharged from your title deeds as soon as possible.