Solicitor warns couples should change former name on deeds to avoid property sale delays

The number of couples buying a house together before going through marriage or civil partnership has risen dramatically in the past two decades, but a Wrexham solicitor has warned they could face delays when they come to sell the property if they have not informed the Land Registry of any subsequent name change.

Wendy Marles, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal, says it is surprising how many couples forget to change the name on their property deeds after ‘tying the knot’.

“It is not a legal requirement to make the correction,” says Wendy, “but it will need to be dealt with when the property is sold, or when it is inherited, so dealing with it as soon as the name change occurs will help to avoid delays at the point of sale.

“If the Land Register has not been updated prior to being sold, the conveyancing solicitor can usually deal with it if the couple provide their marriage certificate. However, Land Registry offices everywhere are currently overloaded with work so it could take additional time to effect.

“If the property is being sold following a divorce, this will cause even longer delays as the couple will not be able to produce their marriage certificate. If someone has divorced and remarried then that complicates matters even further as there will have been two name changes since the Deeds were registered.  

“Generally there is no fee to pay for a name change on property Deeds; couples just need to send a letter to the Land Registry, together with their original marriage certificate or a certified copy of it. Depending on the Land Registry office, some other proof of identity such as a passport may also be required. So my advice would be: inform the Land Registry office as soon as you change your name.”

(Published 19.02.18)