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Property Deeds in Ireland
A property deed in Ireland is a legal document that is drawn up by a solicitor. Each time the ownership of a property changes (i.e., if the property is sold, if it is transferred to someone else, if it is inherited), a new deed of title is drawn up to record the change. When a property is seized or repossessed by a financial institution, a new deed is drawn up in which the financial institution becomes a party to the deed and acts as vendor in selling the property to a new purchaser.
Registry of Deeds their offices
Deeds are registered at the Land Registry when the folio needs to be updated. However, it is also possible to convert title from unregistered land (Registry of Deeds title) to registered land (Land Registry title). This is done through an application to the Land Registry called an application for first registration. When an application for first registration is completed and a folio number is created, a document is registered with the Registry of Deeds showing the folio number so that someone tracing the chain of deeds at the Registry of Deeds will see that registration was transferred to the Land Registry. Sometimes a property can be partly registered with the Registry of Deeds and partly with the Land Registry. In such instances, the deeds will be sent to the Land Registry. Generally, though, both systems of registration are separate and a property will nearly always be registered with either the Registry of Deeds or the Land Registry.
After your new deed is registered, it is returned to your solicitor who will either keep it safe for you or send it to a bank or building society. It is sent to a bank or building society if you received a mortgage to buy your property. The mortgage company will keep your deed until the mortgage is paid in full. There is a nominal fee known as a “scrivenery fee” that is payable when the deeds are collected from the solicitor or financial institution.
If you have taken out a mortgage, this too will be recorded in a deed of mortgage naming you and the bank or building society and the terms of the mortgage, (i.e., how many years the mortgage is for, the value of the mortgage and what conditions apply to it). The mortgage deed and a memorial of it will also be registered at the Registry of Deeds by your solicitor. Banks send out “loan packs” to solicitor’s offices, which include drafted deeds of mortgage.
Signed deeds and memorials
The signed deed and a summary of it called a “memorial” will then be sent by your solicitor to the Registry of Deeds to be registered. The memorial is kept on public record by the Registry of Deeds and is proof of the ownership of the property. The memorial is a written record of the deed created for the purpose of registration. It must contain a selection of the details from the deed to be registrable. The idea of registering a memorial, is to defeat fraud by attaching a priority to the deed as of the time of the registration of its memorial and by the availability of the details in the registered memorial for public inspection. In the event that a deed is lost a memorial is secondary evidence of the contents of the deed. Remember, a memorial does not have the same legal effect as a deed. The memorial is A4 in size and usually consists of just one or two pages.
It is not mandatory to register individual transactions on a property at the Registry of Deeds. Therefore, information at the Registry of Deeds does not prove ownership of a property, merely transactions on the property. A person may sell his or her house on to a new owner, who may then register a deed at the Registry of Deeds showing that sale. The new owner may then sell the property and not register the deed for the sale. For this reason, property registered at the Register of Deeds is known as “unregistered land” because it is not a conclusive proof of title.
As the memorial is on public record at the Registry of Deeds, anyone can inspect the document and see who owns the property. The new signed deed becomes the latest deed showing the ownership of the property, adding to a chain of deeds that go back to when the property was first registered.
Property that is registered at the Land Registry is known as “registered land” as every transaction on a property is registered on a document known as a folio. The folio is guaranteed by the State to be a confirmed record of the title to the property to which it refers.
Because a memorial summarising the change of ownership or mortgage is kept by the Registry of Deeds, you can obtain a copy of the memorial to replace a lost or misplaced deed. This is because the memorial is secondary evidence of the contents of the deed. A memorial does not have the same legal effect as a deed. Each memorial has a record number and you can find this by doing a search on your name at the Registry of Deeds. A certified copy can be obtained for 12 euro and a plain copy can be obtained at 50 cent per page.
If you want to buy, sell or transfer the ownership of a house, you should contact a solicitor. You can also get copies of memorials from the Registry of Deeds.