This section is from the book "Real Property, An Introductory Explanation Of The Law Relating To Land", by Alfred F Topham. Also available from Amazon: The New Law Of Property.
VI. He must show that all the documents have been properly stamped, and, if not, must get them stamped.
A document which is not properly stamped cannot be put in evidence in any proceeding, and is therefore practically useless as a proof of title.
VII. He must execute a conveyance of the land to the buyer, which must be sufficient to convey the whole legal and equitable estate in fee simple (ll) to the buyer, and must contain (or imply) full covenants for title (as to which see p. 284). If he cannot do this himself, he must, at his own expense, get any persons who have any estate in or charge over the land to join in the conveyance.
Thus if the legal estate is vested in some trustee, or mortgagee who has been paid off, the trustee or mortgagee must convey the legal estate to the purchaser. This is termed "getting in an outstanding legal estate."
VIII. He must, on completion, hand over the title deeds to the buyer.
(l) Conveyancing Act, 1881, s. 3 (6).
(ll) Unless he has contracted to sell some estate less than the fee simple.
Modification. - He need not hand over -
(1) Title deeds which relate also to any part of an estate retained by him.
The most usual case of this is where A, being entitled to 100 acres sells, say, 60 acres to B. A can retain the deeds.
This rule applies, however small the part retained may be, and even if the deeds are only useful to the seller as proving that some easement or right over the land retained has been destroyed.
Re Lehman and Walker's Contract,  2 Ch. 610.
L owned some fields which were subject to a right of way in favour of the owner of Bedford Lodge. L bought Bedford Lodge, so that the right of way was extinguished (m). L agreed to sell Bedford Lodge to Walker.
Held, L might retain the title deeds of Bedford Lodge because they proved that the right of way over L's fields had been destroyed.
(2) Title deeds which were retained in a similar-way by a former owner, and are therefore not in his possession.
Every seller who retains title deeds in his possession must give to the buyer -
(a) An acknowledgment of the buyer's right to have the deeds produced whenever he requires them.
And (b) an undertaking to keep the deeds safe.
The acknowledgment and undertaking are binding on every person who gets possession of the deeds from time to time, and any one who becomes entitled to the land at any time gets the benefit of them (n).
They can only be given therefore by a person who has possession of the deeds. If the seller cannot give them, the buyer is not entitled to refuse to complete, provided he will have an equitable right to production of the deeds.
(m) See p. 178.
(n) Conveyancing Act, 1881, s. 9,
IX. He must hold the property (to a certain extent) as trustee for the buyer from the date of the contract until the conveyance is completed, but the rents and profits of the land belong to him in the meanwhile.
From the moment when the conveyance is completed, the rents and profits belong to the buyer. Sometimes they have to be apportioned.
Thus A sells to B land which is let to a tenant at £80 per annum, payable on the usual quarter days. If completion takes place between two quarter days the quarterly rent of £20 is divided between A and B in proportion to the two parts of the quarter, before and after the completion.
If a date is fixed in the contract for completion, then these rights date from the day fixed, and not from actual completion.
In case completion is delayed, then, to make up to the seller for not getting his purchase money at the time agreed, the buyer has to pay interest at the rate of 4 per cent. from the date fixed for completion until actual completion.
X. He must do all these things within a reasonable time.
Gompton v. Bagley (1892), 1 Ch. 313.
Date of contract 25th August.
Date fixed for completion 29th September.
The abstract not having been sent, the buyer wrote on the 13th October that he would refuse to complete if it was not sent within 14 days.
The abstract was sent on the 29th November.
Held, unreasonable delay. The buyer may rescind the contract.
Similarly, the buyer must send his requisitions within a reasonable time.
Statutes by which these rules were made. Most of these rules were enacted by two statutes, and it will be useful for a student to remember when they were introduced and where he should look for a full statement of the rule. They are as follows -
Vendor and Purchaser Act, 1874.
(i.) Length of title fixed at 40 years. See rule I. (i.) and (s. 1 of the Act).
(iii.) Recitals 20 years old are prima facie proof. See rule IV. s. 2 (2).
(iv.) Absence of acknowledgment and undertaking are not a defect of title. See rule VIII. b, s. 2 (3).
(v.) Seller may retain the deeds if they relate to land retained. See rule VIII. (L), s. 2 (5).
Conveyancing Act, 1881.
(i.) The buyer of enfranchised copyholds cannot ask for proof of the lord's title. See rule I. (ii.) and s. 3 (2).
(ii.) On a sale of a sub-lease, the buyer cannot ask for proof of the lessee's title to the leasehold reversion. See rule I. (ii.) and s. 3 (1).
(iii.) The seller may not call for documents dated before the commencement of the title. See rule I. and s. 3 (3).
(iv.) Production of a receipt for rent is prima facie proof that covenants have been observed. Rule IV. (ii.), and s. 3 (4).
(v.) Buyer must pay cost of producing documents and evidence which are not in the seller's possession. Rule V. and s. 3 (6).