This article is just a brief primer explaining how to do undertake a Philippine Land Title search and how and where to check for to verify property information.
When an Heir undertakes to verify a Land Title it helps them determine who all the Heirs (Compulsory Heirs) are.
In some cases Heirs believe the Land Title is in their parent’s name but then discover it is still in their grandparent’s name. This might be because their parents didn’t know they needed to have the Title transferred to their name or maybe they didn’t have the money to pay to transfer the Land Title into their Name.
Discovering that the Land Title is still in the grandparents name may mean there are now more Heirs than originally thought and the Estate will likely be shared to more people.
This is why it is important to transfer a Land Title into your name when you inherit Philippine Land or Property.
And in cases of Inheritance, all too often, Heirs don’t have any of the documents they need and so cannot figure out how to go about Settling their Estate.
Checking and verifying a Land Title before purchase protects buyers from being scammed.
We have seen cases of defrauded buyers all too often. Buyers who paid good money only to realize too late that they were not transacting with the Registered Owner but a scammer who had faked a Land Title.
Or buyers who have paid money for Land or Property, where the “owner” had provided copies of Tax Decs in their name but a Land Title in the name of their parent or Grandparent. Only for the buyer to find out that there were other Heirs who didn’t know the property was being sold or did not agree to sell it.
In such cases the buyer either loses both their money and the property or they face an expensive court case to try to get their money returned or persuade the other heirs to agree to the original sale.
People occupying the Land:
Other people who may be interested in the land are people who have lived on the land for a long time.
For them, the best course is to first go to City Hall and the Registry of Deeds to see what the Land Title Status is.
From there, one of the correct processes can be determined. If they believe they have a claim’ on the land they will most likely need to instruct a lawyer to assist them
There are other government agencies holding public records that may also be of help.
There are other agencies you can check with but the Registry of Deeds or the Tax Assessor’s Office (at the Municipality City Hall) are the most used.
You might need to check with other agencies for other concerns, especially if you are trying to trace the Land Title all the way back.
It will depend on what you want to accomplish as there are many reasons to check property information.
My Advice, whenever there is property involved, always check the title with the Registry of Deeds.
It gives you peace of mind!
Atty. Francesco C. Britanico, FCB Law Office
Lawyers in The Philippines