Mar 04, 2022

Land Title and Land Title Registration: Everything You Need To Know

When you’ve got properties to take care of, you’d have to deal with a lot of details that you might consider as being in a gray area. They not only concern financial transactions but also involve a series of legal procedures.  

As a property owner, it is in your best interest to have a more in-depth understanding of the most critical legal document you will carry: a land title. Everything in this article will guide you in case you would be acquiring land titles and registering or transferring properties in order to help you avoid fraud, conflicts, and financial setbacks.  

What is a land title?  

A land title is the absolute evidence of the right to ownership over a property. It is necessary to have a land title to prevent fraudulent individuals from claiming ownership over your own property and to assert exclusive ownership. 

Parts of a Land Title 

Just to get you familiarized, these are the elements included and printed on land titles: 

Title Form Information 

  • Type of form 
  • Date of revision 
  • Serial number 

Survey Information 

  • Parcel identity 
  • Location 
  • Adjoining parcels 
  • Other information 

Registration Information 

  • Title number 
  • Place, time, and date of registration 
  • Name and signature of registrar 
  • Other related information 

Ownership Information 

  • Names of all the owners of the land 
  • Citizenship 
  • Civil status 
  • Postal address 

How does a land title differ from a deed?  

In layman’s terms, a deed is a written document in which a property owner grants ownership to another party to a certain land. A land title, on the other hand, is the right to ownership of a property. 

How can you tell if a land title is legitimate and clean?  

Buying land is quite a substantial investment, so you want to be extremely careful when proceeding. You would need to make sure that what you are buying is legitimate and that it won’t get you in trouble later on. Here are some steps you can take to make sure:  

You can start with comparing the initials, signatures, and annotations on the duplicate copies to the original copies–these elements should be exactly the same. 

Every title has a unique serial number assigned and printed on it. The serial number on the original title is printed in red, while on the duplicate certificate, it should be in black. Any title that bears a serial number that does not correspond to the database of a particular Registry of Deeds may not be authentic. 

The words “Judicial Form” should be on the upper left hand corner of each title. If the title is an Original Certificate of Title (OCT), it should show Judicial Form 108-D, and if it is a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), it should have Judicial Form 109-D. Right under this should show the year the form was printed or revised.  

The owner’s duplicate copy of the title should show the words “Owner’s Duplicate Certificate” on the left-side margin of the title. On the bottom left corner of the title, there should be a red endorsement seal. This seal should not stain or blot should it get wet. 

The last two digits of the title should correspond to the page number of the registration book printed on the upper right-hand corner of the title. Anything different should be investigated more thoroughly. 

Just like paper bills, the title should be printed on security paper with security features. The paper is made up of 50% cotton and 50% chemical wood pulp with artificially colored silk fibers.

When the form is held against the light, “NALTDRA” (for National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration) or “LRA” (for Land Registration Authority) watermarks should be visible within the paper. Counterfeit titles usually do not have these features and are printed on different paper materials. 

The name of the Registrar of Deeds should correspond with the name of the Registrar of Deeds in office at the time when the title was issued. 

Trace the history of the title to see any anomalies. This may be an extensive process of going back to the root titles, the successive titles, and other relevant documents such as deeds of sale and donation (which will be discussed later in this article.) 

Even if the title seems to be genuine, it is highly advisable that you check to see if there are  no other claims on the land by other parties as well as other issues. There may be outstanding balances, mortgages, or pending lawsuits on the property.

To check, there should be no entries below the words “Memorandum of Encumbrances.” If there are any, make sure that these issues have already been settled. 

When in doubt, still, the best thing to do is to consult a qualified attorney. They will conduct a “due diligence” investigation and then give you the go-signal to close the deal when everything checks out. This will save you a lot of headaches and money going to waste if by any chance you dealt with fraudulent individuals. 

Obtaining a Land Title  

The easiest way to get a land title is after you buy property and you have acquired a document called the Deed of Sale. This deed is the evidence of the legal transfer of title from the seller to the buyer and should be taken to the Registry of Deeds to be made official. This type of document is also called the Transfer Certificate of Title or TCT. 

Land Registration 

Land registration is the process by which the state determines ownership over particular pieces of land and property. It declares information such as the name of the property owner or owners, the technical description of the land, and other important information.  

PD 1529 

The basic law that governs land registration is Presidential Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree. This law covers: 

  • Original registration of the title 
  • Registration of voluntary and involuntary dealings 
  • Reconstitution of lost or destroyed original Torrens titles 

What are the requirements for land title registration?  

  • Original copy of the deed. However, if the original title cannot be presented, a duplicate original or certified true copy can be presented together with a sworn affidavit stating why the original title cannot be presented. 
  • Certified copy of the latest Tax Declaration of the property. 

Land Registration Types  

There are two kinds of land registration: original registration and subsequent registration.

Original registration 

This is when an Original Certificate of Title is issued to an owner by the Registry of Deeds for the first time. 

Subsequent registration 

As the name suggests, subsequent registration is when the original land title is canceled and replaced by another title. This happens when the property is sold or donated, and the new owner is issued a Transfer Certificate of Title.  

Who can apply for land title registration?  

According to Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree, the following persons may file for registration of title to land: 

  • Those who have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious ownership and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain since June 12, 1945 or earlier. 
  • Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the provision of existing laws. 
  • Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned riverbeds by right of accession or accretion. 
  • Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by law. 

How To Apply for a Land Title 

The Land Registration Authority (LRA) has significantly shortened and simplified its land titling process. Listed are the simple steps in applying for land titling by visiting any Registry of Deeds: 

Step 1. Submit the conveyance instrument and other supporting documents at the Registry of Deeds.  

Step 2. Pay the corresponding fees. An examiner will then check if all the requirements are met and will encode such information. 

Step 3. If the requirements are complete, the Registrar of Deeds will approve the applicant and the new land title will be printed and issued to the applicant. 

How long does the land titling process take in the Philippines?  

You will need to have patience as the process may take months depending on whether the Bureau of Internal Revenue or Registry of Deeds is already stacked with other land titling applications. To get the process moving smoothly, it is best to prepare and submit all the proper documents right from the start. 

How To Transfer a Land Title  

When it comes to purchasing properties, you must be diligent in making sure that the title is properly transferred to you in order to avoid lawsuits, conflicts in ownership, penalties, and for the transaction to be clean and complete. 

This on top of the fact that getting your hands on the actual land title is a tediously long process that may take several months to complete (even if there were no problems with the execution of documents and records). 

Unless you are a real estate broker, it is advised to hire a reliable company or a licensed professional to go through the process for you. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process.

Step 1. File and secure the transfer of title requirements and required documents at the Bureau of Internal Revenue Regional District. 

  • (1) Original copy and (2) photocopies of the notarized Deed of Absolute Sale 
  • (1) Owner’s duplicate copy and (2) photocopies of the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), or the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) in  the case of sale of condominium units) 
  • (1) Certified True Copies and (2) photocopies of the latest Tax Declaration for land and improvement of the real property 
  • TIN of the Seller and Buyer 

Step 2. Secure the assessment of transfer taxes at the BIR and Authorized Agent Bank or Municipal/City Treasurer’s Office. A BIR representative will calculate your Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Documentary Stamp Tax (DST). You will have to complete and submit the following forms to the AAB or City/Municipal Treasurer: 

  • BIR Form 1706 
  • BIR Form 2000 

Step 3. File documents at the BIR for the issuance of Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) or BIR Clearance. You will then receive a claim slip with the claim date of the CAR with the following documents: 

  • Original copy of the Deed of Absolute Sale (DAS)
  • Owner’s Duplicate Copy of the TCT or CCT 
  • Original copies of the BIR Form 1706 and Form 2000 
  • Copies of the Tax Declaration for land and improvement 

Step 4. Pay the Transfer Taxes and secure the Tax Clearance at the Local Treasurer’s Office. Secure the following documents for the issuance of the Tax Clearance: 

  • (1) Original copy and (1) photocopy of the DAS 
  • (1) photocopy of the Tax Declaration 
  • Official receipt of payment of Real Property Tax and Special Education Fund Tax 

Step 5. Present the following documents at the Registry of Deeds to acquire a new land title to your name: 

  • (1) Original copy and (3) photocopies of the Deed of Absolute Sale, stamped as received by the BIR 
  • Seller’s or owner’s duplicate copy of the TCT or CCT 
  • (1) Original copy of the CAR 
  • (1) Original copy of the Tax Clearance 
  • Original copies of official receipts of payments of CGT, DST, Tax Clearance Certificate, and Transfer Fee 
  • Original copies of the Current Tax Declaration for land and improvement issued by the local assessor’s office 

Step 6. Request Tax Declaration Transfer of Ownership at the Municipal/Provincial Assessor’s Office. Go to the Assessor’s Office in the municipality or city where the property is located then make a Request for Transfer of Ownership of Tax Declaration. Submit the following requirements: 

  • DAS 
  • TCT or CCT 
  • CAR 
  • Transfer Tax Receipt 
  • Latest Tax Receipt 

Though this guide has covered most of the requirements and procedures needed for transferring land titles, there may be extra steps or documents needed for unique scenarios. Do not hesitate to approach licensed brokers or companies that can assist you throughout the entire transaction.

Transferring a Land Title in the Philippines: Costs

Currently, to transfer a land title, you will have to pay a documentary stamp tax (1.5% of the selling price) and transfer tax (0.5% of the selling price.) However, there may be other fees and taxes in order to complete the transfer, such as the following: 

  • Capital Gains Tax – 6% of the selling price listed on the Deed of Sale or zonal value, depending on which declares the higher value. 
  • Withholding Tax – only applicable when the seller of such property is a corporation. 
  • Commission of the agent or broker as agreed upon by the agent/broker and the client. 
  • Unpaid Real Estate Taxes Due – there may be pending taxes that have yet to be paid. 
  • Registration Fee – 0.25% of the selling price. 
  • Miscellaneous Expenses – these can include any other expenses incurred in the process such as notary fees. 

Transferring a Land Title From a Deceased Parent

Losing your parents is never easy, but the process of transferring their property to your name can be.  It is possible to transfer a land title from your late parents even if there is no will made before they passed away. This guide includes everything you need to know about securing and transferring a land title from deceased parents. 

Extrajudicial Settlement of the Estate 

The process of transferring property or estate will have to begin with what’s called the extrajudicial settlement of the estate. This starts with drafting a contract that the property will be distributed to the heirs. As the name suggests, the heirs will no longer have to go to court just to distribute the properties that the late parent or parents have left behind. 

In order to do this, the heirs would have to secure a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate and Adjudication of Estate with the help of an attorney. The heirs (usually family members) must get into an agreement in order to complete the deed. The deed should specify: 

  • A will has not been made. 
  • Evidence that the deceased parent or parents have no outstanding balances.
  • Name of the deceased and your relationship to them.
  • The heir should be of legal age. If not, minors should have a legal representative.
  • Affidavit of self-adjudication and deed of extrajudicial estate and adjudication of the estate. This shall be signed by the heirs concerned and attested by a notary public. 
  • Clear description of the property to be distributed among the heirs.
  • Bond fixed by the court, given that it is personal property that is involved. 

After a couple of weeks, the heirs should be able to obtain the certification and publication in a newspaper and have it verified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The BIR will then release a certificate to the heirs to be processed by the Registry of Deeds of the Philippines or the Land Registration Authority. 

Transferring Ownership of a Property to the Heirs

Follow this step-by-step guide for a smooth and hassle-free process in transferring the ownership of a property to heirs.

Step 1. The heir must fill out BIR Form 1904.  

Step 2. The following documents must be completed and submitted to the BIR: 

  • A photocopy and the original copy of the death certificate 
  • Proof of payment (OR or deposit slip) and duly validated return 
  • Tax Identification Number of estate 
  • Affidavit of Self Adjudication 
  • Sworn declaration of all properties of the estate 
  • Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of the estate 
  • Court Order (if the transfer had been settled in court) 

Step 3. Complete the tax return form (BIR Form 1801). You can approach the Officer of the Day at the BIR for assistance. 

Step 4. Settle the estate tax at the BIR so that the notarized deed can be registered. It is crucial that you settle the transfer right away so that the tax will not amass. You can pay through: 

  • The Revenue Collection Officer 
  • The BIR’s Authorized Agent Bank or AAB 
  • The duly authorized Treasurer in the Revenue District Office of the city or municipality wherein the deceased had resided 
  • If you happen to be out of the country, you can settle with an Authorized Agent Bank provided by the Revenue District Office No. 39 in South Quezon City, Metro Manila. 

Step 5. All required documents, including the proof of payment, must then be submitted. Once the process is complete, a Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) will be issued within five business days. 

Step 6. Once the CAR has been acquired, you can now finally proceed with the transfer of registration of the land title. The Land Registration Authority will require you to bring the following documents for registration of the inherited property: 

  • Deed of Sale  
  • Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate 
  • Owner’s Duplicate Copy of Title 
  • BIR and CAR clearance certificate 
  • Certified copy of Tax Declaration 
  • Realty Tax Clearance 
  • Transfer Tax Clearance 
  • Affidavit of Publication of Settlement 

How To Deal With a Lost or Destroyed Land Title 

Unless you have already digitized your land title, your original copy is very vulnerable to getting lost or damaged. If you have lost your land title, it is critical that you have it replaced right away to secure ownership of your property and prevent any illegal claims and scams. 

There are a few options in replacing or reconstituting a lost land title (with steps): 

Reconstitution of Titles: Administrative Process 

Under R.A. No. 26, as amended by R.A. 6732, administrative reconstitution may be done in case there is a significant amount of lost or damaged land titles due to natural disasters. Here is a flowchart of the administrative process in the reconstitution of titles: 

Reconstitution of Titles: Judicial Process 

The replacement of the land title will go through the court, hence the need to hire an attorney. This can mean additional expenses and months of work, though it is necessary to have your original copy of the land title reissued. 

You will need to have patience as the process could take six to nine months to complete. Here is a flowchart of the judicial process of reconstituting titles: 

Replacing Lost or Destroyed Owner’s Duplicate Certificates Under PD 1529 

Do not worry too much if you have lost your owner’s duplicate certificate of title if the original title is still with the Registry of Deeds. Section 109 of Presidential Decree 1529 gives the procedure in replacing your lost owner’s duplicate title. 

Section 109. Notice and replacement of lost duplicate certificate. In case of loss or theft of an owner’s duplicate certificate of title, due notice under oath shall be sent by the owner or by someone in his behalf to the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the land lies as soon as the loss or theft is discovered. If a duplicate certificate is lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced by a person applying for the entry of a new certificate to him or for the registration of any instrument, a sworn statement of the fact of such loss or destruction may be filed by the registered owner or other person in interest and registered. 

Upon the petition of the registered owner or other person in interest, the court may, after notice and due hearing, direct the issuance of a new duplicate certificate, which shall contain a memorandum of the fact that it is issued in place of the lost duplicate certificate, but shall in all respects be entitled to like faith and credit as the original duplicate, and shall thereafter be regarded as such for all purposes of this decree. 

Tip: Seek assistance from real estate professionals. 

If you do not have the luxury of time or patience to process the replacement or reconstitution of lost titles, you can always seek assistance from companies that offer services in dealing with such legal matters. 

Keeping Your Land Title Safe and Secure 

At the end of the day, prevention is still better than cure. It is still best to prevent your land title from being misplaced or destroyed as it can result in a long and tedious process. Here are some simple ways to keep your land title safe.  

An option would be to keep the copy of the original title in a safety deposit box in a bank. This will secure the legal documents from theft, flood, and fire. 

Some property owners prefer having their own safety vault at home for important documents. If you think this is also a viable option, ensure that the documents are placed in tightly sealed containers that are fireproof and waterproof. 

Lastly, the Land Registration Authority has a new alternative in keeping land titles secure by digitizing the land title, transforming it into an “e-Title.” 

The e-Title and How and Why Land Title Owners Should Get It  

The land title is only made of paper, making it vulnerable to being forged, misplaced, or destroyed by fire, flooding, or other natural disasters. This is quite a worry because the land title is a valuable document. 

As a solution, the Land Registration Authority launched the Land Titling Computerization Project back in 2008, allowing paper-made land titles to be converted into e-Titles under the e-Titling Conversion Project. Manually issued land titles are scanned, digitized, and stored in secure databases.  

Advantages of e-Titles 

Greater protection from Real Estate Fraud and Scams 

e-Titles are stored in a secure virtual database that is only accessed through the 154 LRA extension office kiosks. Court cases, disputes, and counterfeit land titles are minimized. Additionally, existing annotations on the paper title itself will also be uploaded with the e-Title. This would mean that encumbrances and other issues will be easily notified to prospective buyers. 

Enhanced Real Estate Transactions 

Retrieval and verification become significantly easier for sellers and, especially, buyers of properties. 

Faster Real Estate Mortgage Processing 

Banks and financial institutions require less time in processing mortgages, reducing the time to verify the authenticity of a land offered as collateral from days to only minutes. Also, land title owners no longer need to visit the Registry of Deeds and can instead avail of the “anywhere-to-anywhere” service. This allows land title owners to request certified true copies of the e-Title from any Registry of Deeds through online services. 

Simplified Processing in Replacing Lost or Destroyed Titles  

Even if, God forbid, a Registry of Deeds office burns down, e-Titles are still safely preserved in the database. There is no need to go through the tedious process of replacing lost titles as mentioned earlier. 

Efficient Government Processes 

e-Titles take less time to process, reducing bureaucratic red tape. Usually, it takes quite a while for a government to deliver services, but with digitized titles, they become more efficient. As a result, this encourages property owners to be proactive in dealing with their valuable possessions. 

How To Convert Your Title Into an e-Title

In order to digitize your land title, simply bring the owner’s duplicate title and other necessary documents to the Registry of Deeds. The LRA will then match the duplicate copy to the original to validate legitimacy. Once validated, it will take only a few days for the conversion process to finish.  

Side Info: Donation vs. Inheritance  

Donation and inheritance are both ownership transfers, but what makes them different from one another? Articles 774 to 1105 of the Civil Code of the Philippines govern these two scenarios. 

As mentioned earlier, inheritance is an automatic passage of property ownership from parent or parents to heir at the time of death.  

On the other hand, donation is transferring a property while the owner is still alive and without any money involved. Article 725 defines “donation” as an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it. 

Donation has an advantage over inheritance wherein the donor can transfer the property, not only to their offspring but also to others. Transfer of properties is also quicker in donation than inheritance as long as the deed of donation has been notarized and does not violate the Family Code, the donation is immediately effective. 

These transfers of property ownership are quite complex especially when it is not done through sale; therefore it is essential to differentiate between the two to know the documents needed and the different tax rates that apply.  

Final Word 

Land titles, ownership transfers, and registration are such intricate processes with problematic consequences if not done correctly. Thus, it is best for you to consult with competent attorneys and real estate brokers when dealing with legal concerns about properties.

Here at, we aim to guide property owners with everything essential when it comes to real estate. Check out our blog for more resources.

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