Registry papers, title deeds, powers of attorney, and other legal documents establish a person’s ownership rights on a certain property. These documents are also necessary for a variety of other reasons, including property transfer (sale), gifting, and mortgaging.

If you want to buy or sell a house, you’ll need the original documentation. Naturally, the vendor must safeguard all of this paperwork. However, accidents happen, and you may lose or misplace your original paperwork. As a result, obtaining duplicate papers will take some time and effort.

Here is what a True or certified copy is and how you can obtain it. 

What is True or Certified Copy?

As the name suggests, a True or Certified copy is a duplicate copy of the original documents, certified by the competent authority. “A true copy – if certified by the concerned registrar or sub-registrar’s office – is as good as the original title document. One can get a true or certified copy of a registered document issued in case the original documents are misplaced, lost, defaced, or damaged.

Is the True Copy legally recognised?

Yes, it is. A certified true copy issued by the concerned registrar or sub-registrar’s office is as good as the original document. It can be legally and lawfully employed for any transaction in the property for transfer by any means – sale, mortgage, etc.

How can you obtain a True Copy?

There is a set procedure or steps that you need to follow in order to obtain a certified copy of the lost or damaged documents.

What to do if your Property Papers Lost, Damaged, Destroyed? 

The owner should visit the police station and file an FIR (First Information Report) stating that the property’s original documents have been lost, misplaced, or stolen. S/he must obtain a copy of the complaint. Even if the house is mortgaged and the bank misplaces the documents, the owner of the property must file an FIR. The buyer should ask for a copy of the FIR from the seller. Based on the police complaint, the owner can apply for a duplicate share certificate from the housing society, which can be acquired by presenting an application at the society meeting. If the application is approved during the managing committee meeting, the housing society can issue a copy of the share certificate after charging a fee. 

In case the share certificate allotted by a housing society is misplaced, one has to apply for reissue of the same. The FIR copy and newspaper notice have to be furnished with the application. The society may impose charges for reissue of certificate.

The owner has to make an undertaking on stamp paper, to be submitted at the registrar’s office, with details of the property, lost documents, copy of FIR and copy of the newspaper notice. The undertaking must be registered, attested and notarised.

To declare the loss of the documents, the owner will also have to publish a notice in an English daily newspaper as well as a regional one. Even the buyer can place such a notice and, through it, call for any claimants of the property within 15 days of the notice appearing in the paper. 

Another vital document that owners and buyers need from a housing society is the No Objection Certificate (NOC), without which no lender will be willing to provide a loan. 

The owner will need to get an undertaking on stamp paper mentioning that s/he has lost the original documents. The undertaking should outline the details of the property, what was printed in the notice and the police complaint number. It should also clearly state that all the details declared in the undertaking are true. This document should then be attested, notarised, and registered with a notary. 

The copy of the original sale deed can be obtained from the registrar’s office as it maintains the records of all transactions in its jurisdiction. The owner will have to submit copies of the police complaint, the share certificate from the housing society, the newspaper notices and the undertaking at the deputy registrar’s office. S/he will also be required to pay the necessary charges. Thereafter, a copy of the sale deed will be issued. If it is an old property, it is advisable to get a title report of the document to ascertain that the property is clear of any encumbrance. To obtain this document, one must visit the deputy registrar’s office, which will have all the details of the property.  

Buyers are advised to purchase these properties only through a bank loan. First, the bank’s legal team will verify all the documents associated with the property, including the police complaint records. Next, it will verify the authenticity of the documents. Of course, any charges that arise due to the additional paperwork or legwork will have to be borne by the borrower himself.

When buying such a house, consider these risks:

The Cost and Time involved

There are various costs involved to obtain the certified copy. The cost comprises drafting of notice, cost of advertisement, lawyer’s fees, drafting of the affidavit, and notary’s fees. The fees for application are prescribed by the concerned registrar/ sub-registrar’s office rules.

While the cost of drafting and legal assistance depends on who you hire and where you are located, the cost of advertising in a newspaper differs. The fees or charges to be paid at sub-registrar offices also vary from state to state.

The fee for procuring a certified copy for a document vary in each State. Generally the charges range between INR. 300 (Indian Rupees Three Hundred) to INR. 500 (Indian Rupees Five Hundred) per document in addition to the printing charges for the documents. Certain states like Maharashtra also allows for downloading copies of the registered documents at a nominal fees of INR 100 per document.

While a true copy can serve your purpose, try and keep your original documents as safe and secure as possible. Because when you decide to sell the property, a true copy, instead of the original copy, may create doubt in the minds of some of the potential buyers.

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