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The contents of a title deed

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The title deed that you get from your lawyer with the purchase of your land is a fairly technical document but it marks the title of your possession. It will attest to your ownership in any court of law provided that the relevant steps were taken to assure it is a good title.

The lawyer would have completed a search of the deeds in the Land Registry to make sure that there were no encumbrances (debts) registered against the title. A person with the necessary skills is usually employed to carry out the search. The Registry keeps all original deeds of conveyances and mortgages. {{more}}Hence if the land is tied up by way of mortgage, that is, a loan that was borrowed against the security of the land it will be discovered in the search.

Introduction

What about the document that you have in hand? It starts with an introduction. The first item that is given is the date when the deed was signed. It then identifies the vendor (seller) and the purchaser by name. Their occupations and addresses are also given. Apart from their names on the back page this is the only time that their names are given in the document. Thereafter only the words ‘vendor’ and ‘purchaser’ appear in the deed.

Recital

The next paragraph is called the recital because it recites the immediate history of the vendor’s title deed. From this paragraph one can learn how the vendor came into possession of the land that is being sold. Information is also given about the number which the deed carries and the date on which it was deposited at the Registry. If the land is carved out of a parent parcel, it will give some indication of this in this paragraph. Mention is made of the schedule which contains the boundaries of the land that is sold to the purchaser. The schedule is given towards the end of the deed. Land is referred to as “hereditaments”. This is an old word which does not appear in ordinary dictionaries but nonetheless remains in legal language.

Testatum

This is the witnessing part of the deed and it starts with the words “Now this Deed witnesseth”. It is in this paragraph that the details of the transfer of the land are given and mention is made of the amount of money (or the consideration) that is paid to the vendor by the purchaser.

The land is conveyed unto the purchaser TO HOLD the same UNTO THE USE of the purchaser. This is called the habendum clause and the important words are normally capitalized.

Following would be the covenants or promises that the vendor must make when he transfers freehold land. The vendor agrees to give all rights to the purchaser, his heirs and assigns. He also agrees that the purchaser will quietly and peacefully possess and enjoy the hereditaments and receive rents and profits. There is also a promise that the purchaser will not be subjected to unlawful eviction, interruptions or claims from the vendor.

Following these covenants is the schedule which gives the boundaries on the north, south, east and west of the land. The survey plan number is also given. The vendor signs, seals and delivers the deed thereafter.

Take care of this document because it is very important but remember it is a copy. The original deed is registered and can be found at the Registry which is located at the Court House in Kingstown.

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