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27-10-2020, 22:34   #1
jayjay2010
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Cannot buy house - chain of title missing

Long story short - trying to buy a house. Previous owner is deceased and the house is now being sold by a so-called vulture fund. Conveyance, memorial and chain of title docs are all missing, and therefore, an application for first registration will likely not succeed.

House is being purchased cash, no mortgage/bank involved. My solicitor is not allowing me to proceed with the purchase of this house. The vendor seems to have no interest/ability in registering title prior to closing.

My solicitor was being quite vague and basically told me they could not represent such purchase and offered no alternative solution.

Has anybody dealt with something like this before? My understanding is that the house can never be sold, which seems a bit crazy. It was last lived in about 10 years ago, and there are plenty of docs in the name of the last owner, but some critical docs are missing. This has been a long process so far - going on about 12 months. Nothing has been done in the last 3 months or so. I am in no hurry to purchase but I am hopeful to be able to buy it eventually. Might need a miracle though!

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28-10-2020, 14:28   #2
Claw Hammer
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Is the solicitor trying to buy it themselves? Did you get Counsel's opinion? Houses with bad title are sold all the time, usually at a discount to market value.
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28-10-2020, 15:09   #3
antoinolachtnai
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If all these things are missing, then what exactly are you supposed to be buying? The solicitor is right to be extremely concerned.

If you have the appetite for risk and the money and you really are interested in buying this I am sure you will find a solicitor willing to do it.
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28-10-2020, 16:01   #4
Edgware
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antoinolachtnai View Post
If all these things are missing, then what exactly are you supposed to be buying? The solicitor is right to be extremely concerned.

If you have the appetite for risk and the money and you really are interested in buying this I am sure you will find a solicitor willing to do it.
You might find some shyster to do it but any genuine solicitor would be very cautious
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28-10-2020, 16:09   #5
antoinolachtnai
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Originally Posted by Edgware View Post
You might find some shyster to do it but any genuine solicitor would be very cautious
Not necessarily, it’s just a more specialised line of work. But there is going to be risk.
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01-11-2020, 20:06   #6
Dolbhad
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The issue is when you buy a property in the old system, the registry of deeds, it’s now a requirement of law that the purchaser has to register it in the new system, the land registry. Once it’s registered in the new system the property registration authority (PRA) then provide a bond as such that title is correct.

They however rely on the solicitor to confirm they have reviewed the legal title and it’s in order. The solicitor signs a declaration to that affect. If you look on the prai website it sets it all out including the forms.

The most common one is a form 3 application that the title is fine. Therefore a solicitor isn’t going to want to act for you in the purchase as they will have to register the title. And if they know it can’t be registered, they won’t put their professional insurance at risk.

The way around it so some extent is to see if a form 1 or 2 application can be made which is where the PRA looks into the title. This can take years and is costly as usually the the PRA will come back will loads of queries. You would ideally want a barristers opinion that it’s likely the title would be okay and an insurance bond against the lost documents would be in place (again this is costly) before you would consider buying it.

The PRA website is actually a great resource.

If it still can’t be registered you won’t be able to mortgage the property or sell it unless you found someone else who would take it on. But at that stage you’d know it couldn’t be registered so would be nearly impossible to shift.

But a vulture fund is in no way going to even try help so I’d take your solicitors advice and walk away.
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