Find a safe house for your home's deeds

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty explains the importance of pre-registration deeds
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Question: I have a boundary dispute with my neighbour, and my solicitors have asked me for my pre-registration deeds so that they can heck the boundary position.

When I asked my building society for them they told me they didn’t have them because of 'dematerialisation'. What do they mean by that and why is that? Isn’t the land registry plan definitive as to boundaries?

Answer: Since the Land Registration Act 2002 was implemented all paper deeds have been dematerialised. This means that from October 2003 the Land Registry no longer have paper deeds but instead evidence of title to property is held electronically at the Land Registry on a register.

Most lenders decided to opt for full dematerialisation which means that they do not keep any deeds at all and actually return original paper deeds to their borrowers. Some solicitors look after deeds for their clients and in many cases people retain their own deeds.

When a property is first registered at the Land Registry if the original deeds make reference to boundary ownership, then this is noted on the title register, and the extent of boundaries will be shown on the plan which is known as the Title Plan.

However, the Title Plan does not usually show the exact position of the boundaries because the boundaries shown on plans drawn by the Land Registry are only general boundaries and so the position of the boundaries may not be the same on the ground.

Pre-registration deeds often describe boundary features in detail and that is why your solicitors would like to see them as they may assist with your dispute with your neighbour. It is really important that you keep your pre-registration deeds in a safe and secure place.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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