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Title Deeds

A title deed is a legal document or certificate that proves the ownership of property. A real estate title deed contains a detailed description of the property and its location and the name of the owner (or owners) of the property. It may also specify any legal rights or easements attached to the property or the ownership of the property.

There are different types of title deeds in Cambodia, ranging from deeds produced at the local level - village or commune - up to national level ownership registration. Different types of title deeds may have differing degrees of security attached to them. Deeds produced at the national level are far more secure than those produced at the local level. Locally-produced deeds are generally acceptable to Cambodian citizens. Foreigners investing in Cambodia, however, will seldom feel secure with less than what's referred to as a 'hard title' registered at the national level.

Cambodia's cadastral system is operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and its main purpose is to establish and record the legal ownership of land. The cadastral system in Cambodia is a title registration system, covering the whole country, that identifies legal land parcels and records public and private ownership rights. It is hoped that the ongoing legal registration of all of Cambodia's land will help to resolve the majority of the country's ownership disputes and therefore reduce instances of displacement and land-grabbing.

In terms of title deeds, one consequence of the ongoing cadastral survey will be a massive improvement in the security attached to ownership documentation. Title deeds, produced in areas that have already been surveyed by the Department of Cadastre and Geography, are regarded as some of the most secure.

LMAP is a similar multi-donor project, also run under the remit of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, that aims to help improve administrative procedures for recording and transferring ownership. The project has operated in a number of provinces resulting in accurate ownership records and title deeds with improved security of tenure. Between the cadastral survey and LMAP, significant areas of the country have already been surveyed, but full registration of all Cambodia's land will probably take some years to complete.

How a foreigner registers the ownership of real estate they buy, depends on which purchase method the foreigner chooses to use.

If a foreigner chooses to form a corporation in order to invest in property, the company name would appear on the title deed and the ownership of the property would be recorded at the national government level. This is a very safe method of recording ownership.

The other method of land ownership involves the use of the name of a Cambodian citizen on the title deed. This deed should also be recorded at the national level, though it is not absolutely necessary. This option requires creating a lease back arrangement. The lease is recorded at the local level and serves to legalize and protect the foreigner's investment.

As with all matters involving purchasing real estate in Cambodia, S.R advises its clients to seek independent legal advice before entering into a sales or purchase transaction. Lease back arrangements can be accomplished without legal services but the client will feel safer with the advice of a good lawyer.

S.R can provide all services required for the transfer of property.

 
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