Local Harrogate Solicitor Angela Davies from AM Davies talks about a current job she is working on with a very old unregistered title deed.
This is a typical 19th century deed, written beautifully by hand, illustrated with a watercolour plan, and sealed with wax. It relates to an ordinary house in Ilkley. A surprising amount of land remains unregistered. To prove ownership to such land, the deeds have to be produced.
Reading old deeds takes experience and care. A specialist is needed to piece together the history of a title over perhaps 150 years or more – to find out what rights and restrictions apply to the property and to check the correct ownership.
Title deeds go missing. Even if they are present, there may be mistakes in them which take some detective work to put right. The aim is to convince the Land Registry that you are the owner, so that title to the land can be computerised and put beyond dispute. Deeds such as this can then be released to the owner, perhaps for framing and hanging on the wall!