The Province maintains two separate registries for land holdings. The Registry of Crown Titles located at the Howley Building, Higgin's Line, St. John's contains records of all land titles issued by the Crown. The Registry of Deeds contains records of private land holdings and transactions, it is situated at 55 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John's.
The Registry contains 70,000 land tenure documents together with background information, applications and legal surveys dating back to the 1830's. A further 1600 titles are added each year. The Registry is responsible for records management which involves the storage and management of all files and related documents pertaining to Crown land titles, administration, legal proceedings, as well as the protection of documents related to other government departments such as Mining Grants, Timber Licences, Water Power Agreements etc. The Registry provides a public service regarding information on land ownership, payments for rents due on leased land, and administration of the assignment of leased/licenced tenures. All Crown lands title documents are housed in a fire proof vault for maximum security and protection. Document security is a major concern because in 1892 the Registry experienced the devastating loss of 20 volumes of Crown grants, numerous maps, and other records during the Great Fire of St. John's which occurred in July of that year. While many documents were re-registered, from duplicate copies held by land owners, a large number of titles are still missing. Listed below are the volumes which were lost in the fire of 1892. Persons holding old Crown grants registered in any of these volumes are encouraged to contact the nearest Regional Lands Office so arrangements can be made to re-register the missing grant.
Volumes Lost in the Great Fire of 1892
The Registry of Deeds has the largest database of information of all the registries within the Service NL Commercial Registrations Division. The records maintained relate to real estate in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador dating back to the early 1800's. This information can be searched through a manual index system from 1825 to 1979, and an electronic database from 1980 to present. The electronic database currently cannot be accessed by external clients. A visit to the Registry of Deeds is necessary for searching land title in the Province. Within the Registry of Deeds, clients can access two other land related registries namely, the Registry of Mechanics' Liens and the Registry of Condominiums.
Please visit the Registry of Deeds section on the Service NL website for more information.