Your title deed serves as proof of your ownership of a property, and as a result must be produced when certain property transactions are to be carried out, such as selling the property to another. For as long as a bank holds a mortgage bond over your property, the bank will retain such title deed as security until the bond has been settled. Thereafter it will be released to the legal holder thereof, namely the owner. Where there is no mortgage over the property, the title deed will be transferred directly to the new owner of a property.
Where a property is to be transferred, the original title deed must always be lodged at the Deeds Office. Without it the transfer cannot proceed. Should such a title deed be lost, it will require a written application for a certified copy thereof to be brought in the Deeds Office in terms of Regulation 68(1) of the Deeds Registries Act. Such an application will take the form of an affidavit.
The following process must be followed with such an application:
- The applicant will be required to publish a notice of intention to apply for a certified copy in an issue of a newspaper circulating in the area of jurisdiction in which the property is situated;
- Proof of this advertisement must be lodged with the Deeds Office;
- A copy of the lost title deed must then lay open for inspection in the Deeds Office for a period of 2 weeks from date of publication of the aforementioned notice;
- Any interested party may object to the issue of such certified copy within the 2 weeks from date of publication;
- Only once the 2 weeks have lapsed, may the application for a certified copy be lodged at the Deeds Office; and finally
- Should there be a mortgage bond registered over the property, the bondholder’s consent will also be required.
In addition, to the transfer of property, an original title deed also becomes important when a legal dispute arises and you have to provide proof of your ownership of the property.
Once a title deed comes into your possession it is vital that you keep such safe. Should you lose it, it doesn’t mean you no longer have any rights of ownership. However, for any transaction like a sale of property to be effected, you will have to apply for a certified copy thereof, and this can be both time-consuming and costly, particularly if it could have been avoided by taking care to securely store your title deed.
If you have lost your title deed, consult your local property advisor to help you apply for a copy of your title deed.
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