Understanding my Title Deeds and shared responsibility
Title Deeds or Land Certificates define who owns a property and who is responsible for common building and external elements
This advice is for all owner occupiers and owner landlords of tenement buildings.
Your Title Deeds, also known as the Land Certificate (After 2003) is the legal description of the property which you own outright OR which is mortgaged.
If you have purchased the property outright, you will either have the document or it will be kept securely by your solicitor.
If your property is subject to the security of a mortgage, the original title deeds will be held by your lender or the lender's solicitors. However you can obtain a copy of the Title or Land Certificate from the Registers of Scotland Ownership Search subject to a charge.
The Deeds or Land Certificate and any associated documents held within the file identifies
In addition and sometimes separately, the previous owner may pass on to you information as to when certain repairs or improvements were carried out together with Building Warrants where an alteration requiring local authority approval was granted. This type of information is usually picked up by your solicitor during the conveyancing process. You may also have received a Minerals Report identifying any known mine workings under or adjacent to the property prior to the construction of the tenement block. Minerals reports may not identify mine workings prior to 1900, which were never registered or notified.
The Burdens or obligations or shared responsibilities section of the Title Deeds or Land Certificate is very important in defining exactly what your contribution will be to paying for common repairs, maintenance and any specified responsibilities which fall on you. Most Title Deeds do this, but some may be less specific.
Generally, the Title Deeds will set out:
In some cases, more specific information may be included e.g. how decisions are to be made by owners; the percentage of owners required to approve any common works; the obligations of shop owners if there are shops as part of the tenement and whether or not the titles for this property are shared with an adjacent or even a completely separate tenement ("Shared Title").
Your conveyancing solicitor should have explained the nature of burdens and other liabilities associated with your property to you prior to your concluding Missives of Sale. If you require further information or have any questions, you should take further legal advice.