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I’ve lost my title deed, what now?

There are various circumstances under which a title deed can be misplaced or seemingly ‘misplaced’. To determine whether the lost title deed procedure needs to be followed, a few preliminary questions must be asked:

  1. Is my home bonded?

Normally when a property is bonded to a bank, the transferring attorney will deliver the original title to the bond registration attorneys after registration of transfer. In turn, the bond attorneys will submit the original title deed to the bank, and the bank will retain the title deed until the bond is settled in full or until the property is sold.

So, if you’re selling your property and worried about being unable to locate your original title deed when requested by the conveyancer, simply provide your bond account number and the bank name to your conveyancer. The conveyancer will place the bond under cancellation, by issuing a cancellation notice to the bank. Thereafter, the bank will instruct an attorney to cancel the bond and will release the original title to them.

OR

  1. Was the previous owner the City of Cape Town or the City of Cape Town Housing Company?

At times it may be the case that the seller was party to a rent-to-buy or an instalment sale agreement or received a free RDP house from the municipality. So, should you be taking a mandate from a client, or should you be selling your property and you or your client cannot find the title deed, then check whether the prior owner was the City of Cape Town as the attorneys for the municipality normally retains the title deed in safekeeping until the client is ready to collect. The new owner may have forgotten to collect, so always double check.

OR

  1. I have no bond, and the previous owner was a private individual, I lost my title deed and I can’t find it!

If all else fails, it may be that the seller has lost their title deed. If this is the case, the conveyancer will request that the seller sign an affidavit explaining how the title deed was lost. Some people may have lost it while moving from one property to another, whilst others do not know how the deed was lost.  

Once the affidavit is signed, a certified copy of the title deed is requested from the deed’s office. This can take up to 10 (ten) days to receive. Once the copy is received, the conveyancer will place an advertisement in a newspaper where the property is situated, advising the world at large, that the title deed of the applicable property is lost. Once this is done, a copy of the title deed will lie for inspection at the deeds office for a period of 2 (two) weeks. During this 2 (two) week period, any interested party may object to the issuing of a replacement title deed and such an objection is dealt with accordingly.

Regardless of where the title deed may be, it is very important to check on the location of the title deed very early on in the conveyancing process, as replacing a lost deed can delay the process at least 3 (three) weeks.

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