What to do if your property documents are lost?

Property documents prove your ownership from a legal perspective and retrieving lost documents is a non-negotiable task. Note, mere possession of property won’t solve the purpose.

Who is the owner of a property is solely determined by who is the owner on the paper—mere possession of the property would not prove you are the owner of the property. So, in the unfortunate event of losing or misplacing property papers or original sale deed, immediate steps should be taken. The first step is to retrieve the lost papers, and the second is to get a duplicate copy of the lost property documents. 


Lost property documents: what is the first step?

Lodge an FIR

The first step towards retrieval of the lost property documents would be to approach the police station in your area and lodge a first information report (FIR). After lodging an FIR, police would try to find the documents. In case, they fail to do so during a plausible time window, they will issue a non-traceable certificate, stating that their search for the lost documents has not been fruitful.

Check these laws related to property registration in India


Advertise in newspapers

As already mentioned, the owner should first search for the property papers. To do this, he would have to give an advertisement in at least two newspapers about the loss of the property papers, and request to whosoever has found it, to return the documents to his address. We must remind you here, that doing so is obligatory and not optional. We will get to the point in the subsequent sections of this article.


Write an application

On a plain piece of paper, write about the entire turn of events, mentioning that the lost or misplaced document could not be retrieved within a reasonable period. Also provide all the details of the property and attach copies of the non-traceable certificate and the newspaper advertisement clips. While drafting this matter, write an undertaking that the facts mentioned in the application are true to your knowledge.


Submit it to the sub-registrar

Submit the application to the sub-registrar office, where the property was originally registered. Once the documents are verified, your application will be accepted. A duplicate copy of the property papers will be issued to you in a matter of 15-20 days.


How to apply to get a duplicate copy of lost sale deed?

  • On a stamp paper, write an undertaking explain the loss of the property papers, providing each detail. The undertaking should clearly mention every detail about the owner and the property along with the police complaint number.
  • Attach the copies of the newspaper advertisement with the undertaking.
  • Also attach a copy of the police complaint.
  • Get this undertaking attested from an authorised notary.
  • Any other proof that shows your ownership of the property.
  • Submit it at the sub-registrar’s office where the property was registered.



Undertaking for lost sale deed


I … residing at … do solemnly declare as follows :—

  1. By a Deed of conveyance dated the … day of … made between Mr. … therein called the Vendor of the One Part and myself on the Other Part,

I purchased an immovable property situate at … and more particularly described in the Schedule hereunder written for a consideration of Rs. …

  1. The said Deed has been duly registered at the office of the SubRegistrar … under Serial No. … of Book No. I.
  2. The said deed was in my possession till recently but despite of best efforts made by me I have not been able to trace the same and at present it has been lost.
  3. I declare that I have not deposited the said Deed as security by way of equitable mortgage or otherwise with anybody nor I have given it to anybody for any purpose.
  4. I declare that what is stated above is true to my knowledge and I am aware that relying upon the representation and statements made by me above.


What is the bank loses you property papers?

Recently, the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission directed United Bank of India, now Punjab National Bank, to pay a penalty of Rs 50.65 lakh over losing a borrower’s property documents. The plight of the borrower, one Ashok Kumar Garg who was an employee of the said bank, is shared by many home buyers who purchase property through home loans. What should such a borrower do if the bank loses his property paper?

Know that if the bank is unable to hand over your original property documents because of laxity on its part, the entire responsibility to restore it, including monetary implications, lies upon it.  This is because the Reserve Bank of India on September 13, 2023, issued a notification, saying banks must return property documents to a borrower and remove charges registered with any registry in 30 days after full settlement of a loan account. The apex bank has also provided for a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day, if a bank fails to return property documents to the borrower within the prescribed timeline.

Read full coverage here.


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