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Can we force the owner of the property we are buying sell us on the basis of having the property´s fully registered deeds in his name?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

5th of December 2001

Q. We have discovered by accident that the owner of the property we are buying has not registered the deeds. In our original contract it states that he is the full owner of the domain.Also that he had no debts against it. This was signed in the presence of an estate agent.

Now we find that not only did he not register the deed he also was in default of his contract with the previous owner and only paid the balance owing when the previous owner threatened to sell to another party. This was after we had signed our contract With the seller. We have also found out he does not intend to register, just pass the title from the previous guy to us thus saving himself several thousand pounds in taxes ect.

As yet he does not know that we know this and is still under the assumption that we think he has the title. We feel that he is deliberatly misleading us and are very angry, do we have any recourse?


    A. The situation you outline is of some complication as the final aim is to purchase the property and have it registered in your name. This, without being impossible, may create some difficulties as the registration procedures available require of some documentation to be in place in the name of the vendor, and it appears that the vendor just recently purchased the property on private documents. This is the case provided there are no registered official deeds available.

    If there are registered official deeds available for that property, he is obviously tempted to pass title directly from the previous owner to yourselves. He will never appear in a title deed, as otherwise he will be liable for taxes, given that Notary Public´s have a duty of communication to the taxman of any document signed before them. Buying only on a private document and getting the seller to ´jump´ him and sell to you is illegal but can be done, and when done, the buyer/seller in the middle saves, or even better, evades a substantial amount on taxes.

    He this in a way acting as a real estate agent, but with e difference that he is ´buying´ that property. You can force him in a court of law to grant you ownership of the property in a public title before the Notary Public. This is however a last option due to time considerations. Also, the taxman would be interested in investigating if they find out that your seller is himself intervening in the deal without paying taxes. This you should make it very clear to him.

    I suggest you engage the services of a solicitor as the situation is well worth the intervention of qualified legal assistance.

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