The Dos & Don’ts Of Deeds
Key Contact: Damien Cann
Author: Joshua Prior
A deed is one of the most powerful documents you can sign. A deed differentiates itself from a typical contract by reserving itself only for transferring important rights, most commonly used in property, wills, and powers of attorney.
First thing’s first, what is a deed? Deeds are more than just a high-quality piece of paper with a fancy seal on it, they are typically used in property practice to grant leases, transfer property from one person to another, and mortgage property to a lender.
Is a Deed a Contract?
In a word, no. Any law student will tell you that a contract requires three things: (1) offer and acceptance, (2) consideration (each party gets something out of the contract), and (3) an intention to create legal relations (meaning that you intend to be bound by the contract). By contrast, a deed requires no consideration, and, whilst a contract may be verbal, a deed must be written. Further, whilst a contact must be signed by all parties to it, a deed may be unilateral (a deed poll or deed of covenant for example).
What does a Deed require?
The Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 governs the requirements of a deed, which are, simply that:
- The document intends itself to be a deed;
- The document is validly executed as a deed (meaning that the document is in writing and that the person signing the deed has a witness to that signature (different rules may apply for companies and corporate bodies));
- The document is delivered as a deed. This traditionally meant when the document was physically delivered, however modern interpretation is that this means when the signers intend to be bound – this will often be when the document is dated.
Modern Developments of Deeds
Accelerated by the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, deeds are now able to be signed electronically via platforms like DocuSign. The Land Registry has stipulated some strict requirements for deeds to be signed this way, but essentially, they need a link emailed to you, a code texted to your phone, a witness to attest your signature, and a conveyancer to sign a certificate. Electronically signing a deed is quicker for everyone and reduces paperwork.
Getting in contact with Acuity
If you wish to discuss the points raised in this article, please contact our Real Estate Team and we will be happy to help.