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Last edited 26 Nov 2020
In terms of property law, 'title' refers to the legal right to ownership of property. In very broad terms, an 'owner' is a person or organisation who has the rightful title to something such as property, i.e. the property belongs to them. Title can refer to a partial interest in a property or the full interest, and this can be transferred from one person or organisation to another.
The term title can also refer to a formal document, such as a deed, that provides tangible evidence of ownership. Conveyance of this document is usually required in order to transfer ownership of property between parties. The ways in which a title is obtained are through purchase, descent or grant.
Privity of title, also referred to as privity of estate, is the legal relationship between two or more parties who share an interest in the same property. That is, when the parties’ estates constitute one estate in law. A common example of privity of title is the relationship between landlord and tenant.
In common law, the right to obtain full property ownership, where another party maintains legal title, is known as ‘equitable title’. Upon the contract execution for the sale of property or land, the equitable title passes to the purchaser. When the sale contract conditions have been met, legal title passes to the purchaser. Legal title is the actual ownership of property.
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