What is the best way to discharge a mortgage?

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty advises on the easiest - and cheapest - way to send a notification of a mortgage discharge (known as Ends) to the Land Registry
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© Merrily Harpur (merrilyharpur.co.uk)
Question: I have received a letter from my bank because my mortgage is coming to an end very soon.

This letter asks me if I want to use my solicitor to discharge the bank's legal charge on the property or whether I want them to do it for me. Will it make any difference who does it? What do you think the best choice would be?

Answer: I expect that your property is registered at the Land Registry and so the following applies: for about 10 years electronic notifications of discharge — known as Ends — were used to discharge a mortgage, but these were discontinued in January 2010.

Though called Ends, they were not fully electronic as a further paper application had to be made to the Land Registry before the charge could be cancelled. Of course, this rather defeated their point.

However, an easier way of removing charges is now in use and this method is 100 per cent electronic — it is the e-DS1 method and is available via the Land Registry website. Your bank can submit an e-DS1 and this acts as both evidence that you have paid off your mortgage and is the application to remove the charge from your registered title.

I see no point in incurring a solicitor's fees to discharge your mortgage when it can be done so easily by your bank, so I would suggest that you accept their offer.

The procedure is different if your property is unregistered as it will be necessary for the bank to endorse a "vacating receipt" on the original mortgage document. This will provide the evidence that you have paid off the mortgage and it can be redeemed.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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