For the mortgage to be vested in the Crown as bona vacantia, it must be established in accordance with normal legal principles the mortgage was vested in the company at the time it was dissolved. In the case of land with a registered title, this can be proved by producing office copy entries of the title (obtainable from the relevant District Land Registry), showing the company as a registered proprietor of the registered charge. In the case of land with an unregistered title, it is necessary to trace the original mortgage deed.
Depending upon the date when the company was dissolved, it is possible that it can be restored to the Companies Register, and then the mortgage would revest in the company. If restoration is possible, before making any decisions as to dealing with the mortgage, enquiries may need to be made of the former shareholders and other interested parties as to whether or not there is any intention of restoring the company to the register.
It is necessary to ascertain precisely how much is currently outstanding under the mortgage, and a copy of the mortgage would need to be provided, together with satisfactory evidence as to the sums which are currently outstanding thereunder.
Once the amount currently outstanding under the mortgage has been ascertained, the Treasury Solicitor's normal practice is to agree to execute the necessary Form DS1 to discharge the registered charge, or the necessary statutory receipt in the case of an unregistered mortgage, upon payment of the principal and interest outstanding under the mortgage, and subject to the payment of the Treasury Solicitor's proper legal costs.
At present an accurate estimate as to the amount of those costs cannot be given, but assuming that the matter does not become complicated or protracted, it is estimated that the legal costs, would be in the region of £250 plus VAT and disbursements. A solicitors undertaking would be required, to be responsible for the Treasury Solicitor's proper legal costs, whether or not the matter proceeds to completion.
It will also be necessary for you to trace the whereabouts of the original Mortgage Deed or the Charge Certificate. If this is not in your possession, the relevant District Land Registry should be asked for information as to when and to whom the Charge Certificate was last issued.
If there are no monies outstanding under the mortgage, then there is no bona vacantia interest to vest in the Crown and the Treasury Solicitor is unable to assist, since she does not act upon behalf of the dissolved company. In that situation, in the case of registered land, the Chief Land Registrar has a discretion under Rule 151 of the Land Registration Rules 1925 to accept, and act upon, any other proof of satisfaction of a charge which he may deem sufficient. In the case of unregistered land, a defunct Land Charges entry may be vacated pursuant to a Court Order under Section 1(6) of the Land Charges Act 1972.
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