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Registration of Untitled Land

What Are the Differences Between Registered and Unregistered Land?

Registered land refers to a piece of property that has a corresponding title attached to it, in accordance with the legal processes. It must be registered in the Registry of Deeds.


In contrast, unregistered land has no owner in the eyes of the law, and does not have a registration in the Registry of Deeds.


There are a few things you must take note of in this matter of registration of lands:

  • Not all lands are capable of registration. Forest reserves, mineral lands, and previously titled lands are examples of these.

  • The Certificate of Title is proof of registration. They are not the title themselves. They have the following features: (1) free from liens and encumbrances, (2) incontrovertible and indefeasible, (3) presumed valid and devoid of flaws.

What Are the Risks Associated with Letting the Land Be Unregistered?

Suppose you have all the right to secure the title, but you choose not to have the land registered, you may encounter these risks along the way:

  1. Another person may claim the land and register it themselves in the Registry of Deeds.

  2. The government may take the land through expropriation without just compensation due to you.

What Security Do You Have When Your Land is Unregistered?

None, since you don’t have any right to the land recognized by the law. Sure, you may have pieces of evidence, including tax declarations, showing that you own the land. But the ultimate security lies in the registration of the land, with the title assigning ownership to you.


What are the Costs Associated with Registering Land?

These are the costs involved when having your land registered:

  1. Application fees

  2. Technical description of the land

  3. Survey of the land

  4. Legal fees

  5. Court fees

  6. Other administrative fees

What Should We Do When Someone Else is Claiming Unregistered Land?

If they haven’t filed yet with the court, register the land immediately. If they filed a registration already, file for an opposition. This move is supported by Section 25 of Presidential Decree 1529 or the Property Registration Decree. Whether you’re filing for registration or opposition, you must take note of the following:

  • Make sure that the land is capable of registration and ownership.

  • Prove that you’ve been in possession of land (e.g., tax declarations, statements from other land owners beside the land).

  • Show the identity of the land (look at the survey plan or blueprints for the technical aspects of the property in question).

Does the Land Registration Process Differ According to the Intended Land Use?

No. The process is similar regardless of the kind of unregistered land. There are exemptions though to this rule:

  • Government housing projects. Since it’s the government that initiates the titling of the land, you don’t have to file anything. You just have to submit requirements for eligibility with the government agency involved in the project. They will be responsible for the transfer of title.

  • Patents or grants. A patent is not a title. What it does, however, is give you rights to the land. You must satisfy requirements for patents to “ripen” into full ownership and for the transfer to title to happen. There are also restrictions you must honor, like for example, not selling the land within the first 10 years.

Who Pays Tax for Unregistered Land?

The person who’s in possession of the land pays for it.


Do You Have to Pay Taxes When You Register Your Plot of Land?

The process of registration has no major taxes, though there might be minor levies along the way. Some of the taxes associated with land are:

  • Real property tax (2% of the assessed value)

  • Capital gains tax (6% of the sale price)

  • Documentary stamp tax

How Do You Determine the Value of Unregistered Land?

This question often arises when a person has the intention of selling. But do note that you cannot sell what you do not own. In the eyes of the law, an unregistered land has no owner. Nonetheless, in determining the value of unregistered land, you must ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you the owner of the land? Land is more valuable when you are the owner, not just a tenant or a caretaker.

  • Does the land have the capability to be registered? If it does, then its value would increase because it would attract people who vie for the ownership of it.

  • Can the land be utilized for real estate, farming, development, and the like?

  • Do you have direct access to the highway? A property that’s easily accessible has a greater value than a land that is far from road networks.

  • Where is your land located? Ideally, it must be in a fast-growing environment.

  • Is your title clean? If there are no other claimants to your land, then the property has better value because it offers security to potential buyers.

How Can You Make a Deed of Sale for a Land?

You can only have this document when you have the land registration and title. A deed of sale must be in writing and in tangible form. It must contain the following:

  • date of transaction

  • name and information of buyer

  • description of the identity of land

  • agreement between the buying and selling parties

  • purchase and mode of payment

  • signature of both parties

  • notarization

The most important takeaway from all these is to turn your unregistered land to a registered piece of property. Maximize its potential.

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