Key Post What to do if the seller doesn't have the title deeds


Frequent Poster
Hi there

It has just taken us 7 months to go from sale agreed to contract stage because the title deeds for the house we want to buy are missing.

Our solicitor advised us that the normal practice when dealing with missing title deeds is by way of:
- a statutory declaration from the vendor stating the circumstances of the deeds going missing,
- searches being carried out in relation to the ownership of the property and
-the vendor getting an insurance bond to cover the scenario of someone turning up in the future with the deeds and claiming ownership of the house.

To clarify the situation with the bond, it was purchased by the vendor and is a bond in perpetuity which means it remains in place indefinitely (it is not something that has to be renewed every year). Our understanding is that the bond would pay someone the market value of the property if they turned up with the title deeds and were deemed to have a right to ownership of the property.

In our case, the title hadn't been registered before and was therefore subject to compulsory first registration with the Property Registration Authority(PRA). Our solicitor checked with the PRA what their requirements would be in relation to registering title on a property with missing title deeds and one of their requirements was that the bond would be assigned to them. This caused difficulty for quite a while as the insurance company would not consent to the bond being assigned to the PRA and the state. We could not proceed with the sale without certainty that the PRA would register our title to the property. The importance of this is that when the PRA registers the title, it is then guaranteed by the state which is bound to indemnify any person who suffers loss through a mistake made by them.

Eventually we got notification that the insurance company had agreed to allow the bond to be assigned to the PRA and the State. This allowed us to proceed with the sale and we now have a closing date for the end of February, after going sale agreed in June.

Brendan Burgess


Thanks very much for that. I have made it a Key Post.

If anyone else has experienced this, you might summarise your experience in a reply.



Frequent Poster
It would be good to know the name of the Insurance Company for future reference.