A 'charge' is when a mortgage lender legally protects the money that they have lent to another party.

In the context of buying a property, the most common example of a legal charge relates to the mortgage. In this example, the bank or building society will register a charge against the property you are buying.

Should you fail to meet the terms of the mortgage i.e. fail to make repayments, then the lender will be able to rely on the charge to legally enforce their rights. In the most serious cases the lender could repossess your property, sell it, and use the sale proceeds to repay the mortgage.

A charge against a property is a legal document held by HM land registry. When buying a property, your conveyancing solicitor will investigate any charges against the property and ensure that these are removed before title is transferred to you.

If you are taking out a mortgage, the solicitor will also ensure that your lenders charge is registered against the property.

As and when the mortgage is paid off, the lender should notify HM land registry and the charge will be removed.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher