Buy only titled lands: realtor

They say the best evidence of property ownership is a Torrens title because it is both indefeasible and imprescriptible.

As an indefeasible and imprescriptible document, a land title can neither be annulled or voided nor subjected to prescription.

Hence, a good rule to follow when acquiring property would be to buy only those covered by an original certificate of title (OCT) or transfer certificate of title (TCT).

Realtor Wilfredo G. Montuerto, who is the managing broker of the Montuerto Realty Development Corp., said during a lecture on real estate appraisal that he discourages clients from buying properties covered only by tax declarations.

A tax declaration is not a guarantee of ownership and conflicts regularly arise over properties covered only by this document, said Montuerto. Some cases of conflict involve several people having tax declarations to and laying claim on a single property.

A land without a title and whose owner can only show a tax declaration as his basis for ownership is not registered under the Torrens system.

A modified Torrens system of land registration has been in effect in the Philippines since 1903. The system at the start involved judicial confirmation and recording of real estate ownership through the Court of Land Registration.

Later on, however, the task of registering deeds was turned over to a registry of deeds created in every city and province. More information about the Philippine Torrens system may be read in the Department of Justice website’s entry on the history of the Land Registration Authority (LRA).

Even if a seller of a property can present a title, Montuerto said it is important to countercheck the document presented with existing records at the registry of deeds because there are syndicates that fake land titles.

He also advised that buyers do a “trace back” of previous title records in the title copy–verify up to 2 to 3 preceding titles and see how these were cancelled or how the change of ownership occurred, whether by les pendens or a deed of absolute sale. A les pendens annotated on the back of the title means the property has a pending lawsuit or is under litigation.

If possible, Montuerto said buyers should verify up to the mother title, which is what is known as the original certificate of title (OCT).

  • Jason

    very informative indeed!

  • pedro holkan

    i was approached by someone i want to trust who showed me a thirty year old tax declaration on property she says her mother owns. is this a common way filipinos accept property to avoid the expense of an actual title. i know it cannot show actual proof of ownership, but i wonder if people in the philippines generally use this document as the best proof of ownership they can afford, or again, as in the scenario where i was told a seperate contract on land can put an amecian purchaser in charge of the land he buys but cannot own, is the tax declaration simply a ruse used against the uninformed forigner to take advantage of him?

    thanks again, Pedro

  • atty raul dado

    tax dec’s can are proof of ownership, along with torrens titles. ( also:homesteads, grants)

    you just need to update your taxes,and you need to have been the first to file your claim over the property

  • engkanta

    a tax declaration can be a proof of ownership but it’s not a guarantee of ownership. meaning it is possible for a person who has a tax declaration to a property to be not the rightful owner of the property as opposed to a person having a valid OCT or TCT. so just to be on the safe side, buy only titled lands. unless, of course, you are fairly certain that the person with the tax declaration is the owner.

  • carlos dehesa

    i need help in how to get my “ORIGINAL TITLE” FOR MY LOT IN GUN-OB, LAPU-LAPU CITY. I AM FROM U.S MY EX WIFE IS ALSO FROM U.S. BUT FROM CEBU. ITS TITLED TO BOTH OUR NAMES.SHE WOULD NOT GIVE ME THE TITLE, HOW DO I GET AN ORIGINAL COPY? PLS. HELP ME THANKS.

  • mila solidon

    I would also like to know how I can get the original title for the land I bought from Nueva Ecija. The person I trusted to buy the land for me only sent me as “duplicate
    owner’s certificate” I am living in Canada but I want to go homw to the Philippines when I retire. Please let me know where I could get the original Title.

    Thank you very much.

    Mila

  • Mark

    just want to ask if a property with only a tax dec.whose owner dies,can the ownership be transferred to another person by only a deed of assignment,copy of death cert.,letter of request and barangay certificate,even if the owner has a child?Is the child not entitled to inherit the said property? can she file an adverse claim for the property?and can she ask the assessors office for a traceback copy on the previous tax decs?pls.help,thank u

  • Jvestudio

    What is the process wherein a property with only a tax declaration can be verified and issued an original certificate of title?