Title is a generic term that refers to the legal evidence of ownership one has over a property. It includes such documents as Tax Declarations, Real Property Tax Receipts, Deeds of Sale, and the Torrens Title. What we normally think of as title is actually a Certificate of Title also known as the Torrens Title, which results from the Torrens System of Land Registration. The Certificate of Title is the best form of evidence of land ownership.
The following are some of the most commonly encountered questions on Land Title and/or Land ownership in the Philippines.
1. How can one acquire Land Title?
The easiest is through sale and by executing a document called Deed Of Sale, which shows the legal transfer of title from the name of the seller to the buyer. The Deed Of Sale is then taken to the Registry of Deed to be officially recorded. This type of title is also called Transfer Certificate of Title.
When no title has yet been issued over a parcel of land, Title it can be acquired either through:
- Judicial proceedings – by filing a petition for registration in Court
- Administrative proceedings – by a filing an appropriate application for patent (e.g. homestead) in the Administrative body (DENR) and registration of this patent becomes the basis for issuance of the Original Certificate of Title by the Register of Deeds.
2. Are there lands with no Land Certificate of Title yet?
Yes and they are called public lands and include the following:
- Alienable or disposable (A & D Lands) – those that can be acquired or issued title. The Philippines Constitution provides that only agricultural lands can be disposed of to private citizens.
- Non-alienable lands – includes timber or forest lands, mineral lands, national parks. No title can be issued over any portion within this area.
3. Can a foreigner have the Land Title in his/her name?
Unfortunately, the answer is “No”! Land Title can only be put in the name of a Filipino or a Corporation with at least 60% Filipino ownership. As a foreigner, it would be helpful to be aware of this limitation on your right of owning Land in the Philippines. Please refer to the article that discusses land ownership in the Philippines made especially to the foreigners.