Changing who is recorded as legal owner on the title deeds of a property
There can be a variety of circumstances in which you might want to change who is registered as legal owner of a property.
Most commonly, changes of name, particularly the removal of a name, happens on divorce or death.
Divorce or separation
When a couple divorces or separates, one of them may want to stay living in the property, particularly if it is the family home and there are children. The person remaining might buy the share of the other, or it might be transferred under a consent order.
Transfer on probate or administration of an estate on death
When someone dies, removing his or her name from the property deed may be necessary in order to complete the probate process and distribute his or her estate to the beneficiaries.
The name of the deceased person might be replaced with those of the beneficiaries, or in the case of sale of the property, with a new owner.
The process of removing a name from the title deeds
For partial changes in ownership
An application must be made to change the register at HM Land Registry. You should download and complete Form AP1 (see below). Form AP1 is used to amend the title register.
Where the property was owned by two owners as joint tenants and one dies, the surviving joint owner becomes the sole legal owner of the property. In order to remove the name of the deceased, Form DJP (Deceased Joint Proprietor) must be completed and filed along with a copy of the death certificate. There is no requirement to show the Grant of Representation to the Land Registry, which means updating the title deed can be done soon after death.
If there is a mortgage outstanding on the property then the permission of the mortgage lender will usually be necessary to be obtained in order to remove the name of one of the owners. The mortgage provider will usually assess the financial ability of the remaining owner to make repayments under a new mortgage deed.
On a name change
Name changes happen most frequently on marriage and divorce, but of course, they can also be made by deed poll or statutory declaration.
You'll need to download and complete Form ID1, which proves your identity when applying for a name change on the title register. Send ID1 with evidence of your change of name (for example, the deed poll document, your marriage certificate or your decree absolute) and AP1 to the Land Registry. The fee box should state 'nil' because there will be nothing to pay.
Where all the owners change
If the entire property is to be transferred to new owners (such as on a house purchase by completely new owners), Form TR1 should be completed and filed with the Land Registry.
If there are no surviving owners, the transfer will usually happen as part of the probate process. The beneficiaries may have the property transferred into their names, or into the names of their representatives using Form AP1 and AS1.
Changing ownership completely
How to complete form TR1
Form TR1 is used in the majority of conveyancing transactions to create a transfer deed between a buyer and a seller of the property, or previous owners and new owners (if no money is being transferred).
It should be used to:
- transfer the whole of the property in one or more registered titles
- to register the property for the first time
If only part of the registered title is being transferred (part of the property), Form TP1 should be used instead.
Before transfer, you should check whether the property has been previously registered using the Land Registry’s Find A Property service.
If it has, you should obtain an up-to-date official copy of the Register and check it for any issues that might make transfer more difficult. Restrictions such as restrictive covenants may limit how the property can be used or amended. Leasehold clauses may require the consent of the landlord. If there is a mortgage on the property, consent of the lender may be required. The Land Registry gives further guidance.
Completing Form TR1
The form is straightforward to complete provided that you have all the information to hand.
You need to know the title number the property if it has been registered before, and provide a brief description including the postcode of the property has one.
The date of completion should be completed once the transfer has been executed.
There is a requirement to state the amount paid for property, or that the transfer is a gift or that there is some other form of consideration that is non-monetary.
Panel 10 records the intentions of joint owners and establishing a declaration of trust. Alternatively, Form JO can be used.
With Form TR1, you should send the Land Registry the Stamp Duty Land Tax certificate if relevant, and Form AP1 for already registered property or Form FR1 for new property.
If you are a non-professional conveyancer (i.e. not a solicitor), you should also send certification of your personal identity (ID1).
Do I need a solicitor to transfer ownership of a property?
It’s possible to change the names on title deed yourself without help from anyone else. You simply need to complete the right forms and pay any fee.
We often recommend that you seek professional help because the value of property is sufficiently high versus the comparatively low cost of conveyancing to make it worthwhile getting the transfer right.
The price of conveyancing for a transfer of names is usually only a couple of hundred pounds – much cheaper than for when property is being sold.
By law, only a solicitor working for a firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or a licensed conveyancer can do the work on your behalf for a fee.
You might want to read about why conveyancing solicitors can be important in a property transaction.
Please note that the information provided on this page:
- Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
- Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
- Does not create a contractual relationship;
- Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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