One of the most critical things to buying a property is securing complete ownership of it. In Cambodia where there are four types of property titles, this means getting the foolproof hard title. Considering that hard titles are recognized at the national level and within the local government, this can’t be disputed even if there is a soft title claiming ownership of land or property since it’s only recognized locally.
To make the process of buying and transferring ownership to you, you can always rely on trusted real estate management companies like IPS Cambodia to help. However, to ensure you know everything about property title transfers to secure your investment, here is a complete rundown of how it works:
1. Verification of the property’s Title Certificate
To begin the title transfer, you need to do your due diligence regarding the current owner of the property you want to buy. In order to do this, you need to get the original copy of the property’s title certificate from the current seller and confirm it with the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) in Cambodia.
This will verify the authenticity of the ownership and inform you if the seller currently has any outstanding debts, disputes, or notices on the property. Moreover, you can also determine if there are currently any mortgages for it, which might cause future issues.
Verification of the title certificate and legitimacy of ownership can take 10 days.
2. Conduct detailed research on the property
Alongside the confirmation of authenticity in step one, you need to do a comprehensive research on the property itself. In this, you have to go directly to the Commune Office where the property is located. From there, make an inquiry with the designated official if there are any previous or ongoing disputes, issues, and more regarding the property. This will give you more thorough information about the property and allow you to make wise decisions regarding the next steps you can take.
Inquiry can take a day although confirmation can take up to 10 days so it’s recommended to do this step and the previous one at the same time.
3. Research seller’s legitimacy
Amid the research on the property, to secure your investment, you also need to conduct research on the legitimacy of the seller. If the seller is a local individual, you need to request three certified copies of their ID. Additionally, if the seller is a foreigner, you need to request a certified copy of the Royal Decree regarding their citizenship alongside three copies of their ID.
On the other hand, if the property seller is a company or legal entity then you need to request the following:
- Three certified copies of the shareholder’s identification or the person who represents the company. However, the authorized representative needs to be a local citizen.
- A certified copy of the Certificate of incorporation of the company issued by the Ministry of Commerce
- A copy of a signed shareholder resolution regarding the property
- A foreign shareholder in the company needs to provide three certified copies of their property.
- Proof of special power of attorney presented by the legal representative as authorized by the Board of Directors
Checking the seller’s legitimacy can be done alongside steps one and two since it can take up to 10 days.
4. Register at the District Land Office
Once research has been completed and you wish to continue your transaction, then you need to go with the seller (or the legal representative) to the District Land Office to register and officially start the transfer process. Signatories are needed here for all parties involved, including the spouse’s signature if the individual seller is married.
The registration to transfer ownership can take up to 20 to 30 days to be completed.
5. Pay transfer tax fees
The next step to the process is to pay the transfer tax fees to the Ministry of Economy and Finance in the General Department of Taxation. Once you’ve paid these fees, you will be issued a tax receipt. Settling the transfer taxes can be completed in a day.
6. Complete the registration in the cadastral office
Once the tax has been paid, you need to complete the registration process in the cadastral office of MLMUPC. Here, you will need to sign and leave a thumbprint on the relevant forms to continue the process of buying and selling the property. Take note though that this process needs to have a local official bearing witness, as part of the legitimacy of the title transfer. The whole process can take up to 5 days to be completed.
7. Acquire Certificate of Title from Municipal Land Office
The last step to the process is getting the Certificate of Title from the Municipal Land Office since the District Land Office forwards all transfer documents here. The time you can receive the official proof of property ownership can take up to one to two weeks, depending on how fast the officials work.