Who Can Witness A Mortgage Deed And Who Can’t?

Who can witness a mortgage deed? For a mortgage deed to be valid, it must be witnessed by two people who are not related to the borrower or the lender or have any interest in the property. Witnesses must be over the age of 18 and must be able to understand the transaction taking place. 

The witnesses do not need to have any prior knowledge of mortgages or real estate but simply need to be able to understand what is happening and be willing to sign the mortgage deed as a witness. Professionals including solicitors and notary publics can be asked to act as witnesses if you don’t know anybody willing to witness your mortgage deed. Upon completion, the signed mortgage deed is a legally binding document. 

Mortgage Deeds And The Role Of Witness Signatures

A mortgage is a big responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. To ensure that the mortgage is binding and enforceable, most lenders that provide mortgages require that the mortgage deed document is witnessed by two people who are over 18, who are not a party to the deed, has no commercial or financial interest in the subject matter of the deed and no close personal relationship with the borrower or lender whose signature they are witnessing. These rules are designed to protect both parties

The role of the witness is to make sure that someone can attest to the fact that the borrower has read and understood the terms of the loan, and has voluntarily agreed to them. Their signature also means that they verify that you are who you say you are and that you understand what you’re signing.

By signing the document, the witness is confirming that they’ve seen you read and sign it. In some cases, the witness may also be required to provide evidence of their identities, such as a driver’s license or passport.

Read on for a simple overview of who makes a suitable witness for signatures on mortgage documents along with some important things to be aware of when it comes to signing documents in the property purchase process. 

What Is A Mortgage Deed?

What is a mortgage deed

A mortgage deed is a legal document that pledges a property as security for the repayment of a loan. The deed is usually signed by the borrower and lender, and it outlines the terms of the loan, such as the interest rate and repayment schedule. It’s a document that is used when mortgaging or remortgaging a property and must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses who are physically present at the same time. 

The mortgage deed also gives the lender the right to foreclose on the property if the borrower defaults on the loan. In most cases, the deed is recorded with the local land registry office, which provides public notice of the loan and protects the lender’s interest in the property.

Mortgage deeds are an important part of the home-buying process, and they can help to ensure that both buyers and sellers understand their rights and responsibilities.

Before you sign a mortgage deed you should carefully check your personal information, the property details, and that you agree that you’re happy with the terms and conditions of the mortgage. Read everything slowly, in detail, then read it again. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything before signing the deed. 

Once signed and executed, you confirm that you’re happy to proceed with the terms of your mortgage offer and that the mortgage deed is a legally binding document. It should, therefore, be considered very carefully before signing. 

How Can I Get Mortgage Documents Witnessed?

If you are getting a mortgage from a lender, they will typically have someone on staff who can witness the documents for you. If you are using a solicitor or Notary Public to help with your mortgage, they can also witness the documents.

If you are unable to find someone to witness the documents, you can always ask a friend or family member who is not involved in the transaction to be a witness. Just make sure that they are over the age of 18 and that they understand what they are witnessing.

When asking a professional to act as your witness, you will need to contact a solicitor or notary public who can witness the documents. They’ll usually charge a small fee for their services. Once you’ve found someone who can witness the documents, you’ll need to make an appointment to have them signed. You’ll need to take along your passport and proof of address, as well as the mortgage documents themselves. 

Keep in mind that whoever witnesses your documents must be over the age of 18 and must be able to sign and date the document in front of you. Once everything is signed and witnessed, you’ll be able to move forward with your purchase.

Can The Same Witness Be Used For Two People?

If you are buying a property with a friend, family member, partner or another party, then there will be multiple names on the mortgage deed. Each person signing needs to have their signature witnessed, and yes, the same witness can be used for multiple people. As long as they fit the criteria outlined above.

Why Is A Wet Signature Needed?

A wet signature is when a document is signed in person by hand. A mortgage deed is a legal document that is required by any home purchase and must not be electronically signed. Instead, a wet signature must be used by all signing parties to be legally binding and prevent fraud between buyers and sellers. 

Who Is A Notary Public?

As it is not yet possible to witness a signature via a video call or other virtual methods, it can sometimes prove hard to find an impartial, non-co-habiting witness who can be physically present at the point of signature, particularly if you have a small circle of friends, or don’t work in a corporate environment. 

A notary public is a person who is authorised by the Court to witness and authenticate documents. This includes documents such as wills, mortgage deeds, powers of attorney, and court documents. A notary public can also administer oaths, take affidavits, and certify copies of documents. To become a notary public, an individual must first complete an approved training course.

Once they have been admitted to the role by the Court, they are then able to practice as a notary public. Notary’s public plays an important role in ensuring the validity of legal documents. As such, they are highly respected members of the legal profession.

If you are unable to find an impartial witness that meets the qualifying criteria outlined earlier in this article, then you can ask a Notary Public to witness your documents and a fee will usually be charged for their time and service.

Why Do I Need Two Witnesses For My Mortgage Deed?

Why do I need two witnesses for mortgage deed

A mortgage lender, bank or building society needs witness signatures to create a legal document that protects their interest in your property. A mortgage document is a contract between you and the lender that gives the lender the right to take back your property if you don’t repay your loan.

To enforce this contract, the lender must be able to prove that you signed it. Having witness signatures helps to establish this proof. Additionally, witnesses can provide testimony in court if necessary, helping to ensure that the mortgage document is enforced. As a result, witness signatures play an important role in protecting the lender’s interest in your property.

Witness signatures also help to prevent fraud, as it would be more difficult for someone to forge two signatures than just one. Therefore, two witnesses are required to help minimise the risks of mortgage fraud within the industry.

Do The Witnesses Need To Understand Property Law?

No, the witnesses do not need to have any prior knowledge of mortgages, property or the laws that govern these areas in the UK. They simply need to be able to understand what is happening, and the contents of the document, be an independent witness, be willing to sign the mortgage deed as a witness, and must be present when you sign the documents yourself.

If the witnesses are not able to understand the documents, they may not be able to provide the correct information when questioned about the mortgage. This could lead to problems down the road if there are any discrepancies with the mortgage. Therefore, the witnesses must be able to understand the mortgage documents before they sign them.

Who Cannot Be A Witness On A Mortgage Deed?

There are a few different categories of people who cannot be witnesses on a mortgage deed.

  • Firstly, anyone who is a party to the deed – that is, the borrower or lender – cannot act as a witness.
  • Anyone related to either party by blood, a civil partner, marriage or co-habiting also cannot serve as a witness. This includes spouses, parents, children, siblings, and anyone else who is related to either party.
  • Anyone who stands to gain or lose anything as a result of the deed – for example, a real estate agent who stands to earn a commission on the sale – is not allowed to witness the signing of the deed.
  • Anyone who is not of sound mind – that is, someone who is mentally incapacitated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol – cannot serve as a witness.
  • Anyone who is under the age of 18 cannot be a witness. Under this age, individuals are not deemed of sufficient maturity for their evidence to be relied on should it later prove necessary to verify the circumstances under which the execution took place. 
  • Depending on who your new lender is, a mortgage advisor may not be an acceptable witness.

As such, it is important to choose witnesses carefully when asking them to sign documents to ensure that the mortgage deed is legally binding.

Documents That Need Witnesses When Buying A House

There are a lot of documents that need to be signed to make a property purchase official and legally binding including; the transfer deed, the mortgage deed, the conveyancing certificate and title deeds.

  • One of the most important documents is the transfer deed, which transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. This document states that the property is being transferred from the seller to the buyer and includes all the relevant details such as the price, date of sale, and names of both parties. To be legally binding, the transfer deed must be witnessed by two independent adults and needs to be signed by both the buyer and seller.
  • Another important document is the mortgage deed which outlines the terms of the loan that the buyer is taking out to finance the purchase. This document outlines the terms of the mortgage, including the amount borrowed, interest rate, and repayment schedule and the mortgage deed also needs to be witnessed by two independent adults.
  • The conveyancing certificate, which is signed by the solicitor or conveyancer who carried out the legal work for the sale must be signed and witnessed too. This document confirms that all necessary checks have been carried out and that there are no outstanding issues with the property.
  • Finally, the seal on the title deeds must be witnessed by a solicitor or notary public. Once all of these documents have been witnessed and signed, the purchase of the property can complete.

You should always make sure that you have properly read and understood all of the terms and conditions of the mortgage agreement before you sign the Mortgage Deed.

Mortgage Offer Vs Mortgage Deeds

There is so much terminology flying around during the process of buying a home that it can be easy to get terms confused. Two phrases which often get muddled up are mortgage offer and mortgage deed so let’s clarify the key difference between these two documents.

  • A mortgage offer is a document that sets out the terms and conditions of a mortgage loan. A mortgage offer will usually state the amount of the loan, the interest rate, the repayment period, and any other relevant terms and conditions.
  • A mortgage deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of a property from the borrower to the lender. A mortgage deed will typically be signed by the borrower and witness and will be registered with the HM Land Registry.

While a mortgage offer is an important document, it is the mortgage deed that ultimately transfers ownership of the property. As such, it is essential to ensure that all the terms and conditions set out in the mortgage offer are accurately reflected in the mortgage deed.

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