The forms of property ownership in Cambodia have been constantly expanding since the government reinstated individual property ownership laws in the 90s. Overall the changes have been positive as property titles have become more detailed & secured and more recently seen significant improvements in allowances for foreign ownership.
So what titles are available and what do they actually mean?
Soft titles are the most common form of ownership with some estimating up to 85% of all property held in Cambodia held under soft title. This title form is registered at the Sangkat (council) and Khan (district) levels only and is not registered at the National level. As the administration of these titles are managed by the local authorities, soft titles are transferred quickly (normally less than 10 working days) and at a low cost.
Hard title properties are the strongest form of land ownership in Cambodia. Hard titles are registered at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). In the rare instance where a property has a hard title and a soft title, the hard title trumps claims of ownership based on possessory right. Because of this some property owners prefer to deal with hard titles. Transfer of hard titles are done at the cadastral office and usually takes around 12 weeks to complete. There is a 4% transfer tax on the “property value”, with the valuation being done by an official from the cadastral office.
The “Land Management and Administration Project” or LMAP is the third type of land title available in Cambodia. In conjunction with the World Bank, the program launched in 2002 and has been rolled out in selected provinces over the last decade or so. The project was designed to help implement a systematic registration system and improve the quality of information in land tenure. Similar to a hard title, an LMAP title is recognized at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). Where an LMAP differs from a Hard title is an LMAP is effectively a Hard Title with Geo-tagged points – GPS coordinates clearly identifying the properties boundaries. An LMAP transfer process takes around 12 weeks and the transfer cost is a 4% of the property’s “value” which is determined by a Cadastral official.
CO-OWNERSHIP | STRATA TITLE
“Strata titles” are possession rights over property that has been given special approval allowing for co-ownership of a property by Khmer nationals and foreigners. To be granted a co-ownership title, the property must meet a number of criteria’s below:
- Only applies to new buildings – 2010 onwards
- Foreign ownership is limited to 70% of the total surface size of all units in the co-owned building
- Can’t be ground floor or underground floor
- Can’t be within 30km of any land border
A co-ownership title is recognized at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). The transfer process takes around 12 weeks and the transfer cost is a 4% of the property’s “value” which is determined by a cadastral official.
The Cambodian property market and the Laws governing land and buildings continue to evolve. Whether you are a Khmer national or foreign purchaser, there are a number of ways in which to secure your investment. We will look at these structures in detail over our next articles.