Lost Title Deeds

Once the deed of sale has been signed, there is a set transfer process at the Deeds Office. Unfortunately this process can be delayed or even halted due to unforeseen events, such as the loss or destruction of a title deed.

The delay this causes, as well as the additional costs involved, is often not explained to purchasers and sellers. This article aims to give potential sellers and purchasers an idea of how a lost title deed will affect your property transaction.


The procedure to follow when applying for a copy (called a “VA copy”) to replace a lost or destroyed title deed is governed by the Rural Development and Land Reform regulations which came into effect on the 1st of January 2020.

  1. The property owner must apply to the Registrar of Deeds for a VA copy. This application includes deposing to an affidavit setting out the circumstances in which the title deed was lost or destroyed.
  2. The application also needs to be advertised in a newspaper which circulates in the area of which the property is situated.
  3. The Registrar must be furnished with a copy of the application as well as a copy of the lost title deed and a letter confirming the date of the advert in the newspaper on the day of advertisement. These documents will lie for inspection at the Deeds Registry for all affected persons to view during the two week period advertising period. This inspection period is done at no additional cost.
  4. If an affected party wishes to object to the application, they must lodge their objection, in writing, with the relevant Registrar of Deeds within the two week period.
  5. After the two week period, the application and a copy of the advertisement is lodged together with the transfer deed and a certificate confirming that no objections were received at the Deeds Office.

If there are no queries the Deeds office can issue a certified copy of the title deed and the normal lodgement and transfer process can proceed.

Note that where it can be proved that the original title deed was lost whilst in the possession of the Registrar of Deeds then no advertisement is required.


Due to the above-mentioned delays and costs we urge our property owners to ensure that they know where their title deeds are before commencing with a property transaction. If your property is subject to mortgage bond then the relevant bank usually holds the original title deed until the bond is fully paid. If your property is unbonded and you are unable to locate your title deed then we urge you to contact us.

If you would like a more detailed analysis or legal advice regarding the new regulations please do not hesitate to contact us.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E & OE).

Written by:

Orissa Ramesar – Candidate Attorney

Andrea Tomassichio – Associate

For more information please contact Andrea Tomassichio at atomassichio@bissets.com or via:

Switchboard:   021-441 9800

Website:  www.bissets.com

Bissets Whatsapp:  072 370 0416 – our Client Liaison, Tracy, will put you in contact with the relevant professional.