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PROPERTY TITLE PROBLEMS IN THE PHILIPPINES

property title problems

Property Title Problems in the Philippines

A lot of Filipinos Property Rich but Cash Poor

For the past year I have seen my wife get well established in the Dumaguete Real Estate market, and one of the things I have seen over and over again is how so many Filipinos are property rich, but cash poor. The vast majority of raw property that comes across her desk is for the most part unsaleable because of property title problems that are overwhelming.

This seems to be in most part due to the fact that the sellers’ interest in these properties are from inheritance and usually it is several generations removed from the original owner before the issue of property title problems are addressed.

The beginning seems to be what is called a “mother title” owned by an ancestor and upon their death, the justified heirs duly inherit a stake in the property as laid out by Filipino statute. ( I will not go into trying to explain in this article, as it is a whole complicated subject in itself). When the mother title is passed down, numerous things are supposed to happen in order for the heirs to gain their own titles. These include such things an “extra judicial settlement” whereby the parties agree to the division of the land and who gets what. At that point there are costs involved including estate taxes, legal fees and surveying charges, which in most cases are far beyond the means of the average Filipino family. Not being able to complete that process, the heirs do nothing and next thing you know, some of the heirs die, bringing their heirs into the picture. Before long there can be so many people involved that not only is cost a factor but the added hurdle of reaching a consensus among the large group that now has to be in agreement but who have differing views.

When buying a property, it is crucial to gain a full understanding of the background of the land including who is involved and what the costs will be to get everything in order. The most common scenario  if a person deems the property to be well worth the hassle, is that part of the sale price will have to be paid up front to work through all these legal titling hurdles. As well, the buyer will require a whole lot of patience since things in Philippines do not seem to happen quickly or easily.

Absence of a purchaser who will endure the hassles, that handed down land will probably remain unsold for years to come, leaving the Filipinos who own it in a continual state of being property rich and cash poor. Each succeeding generation of heirs will just add to the property title problems by adding additional complications.

issues of Property title  in the Philippines can be a sad state of affairs, unless addresses properly!

(14) Comments

  1. Angel Christopher

    on   said 

    I live in the US with my mother. She has a quit claim deed for property in Dauin, Negros Oriental. We have individuals reaching out to us to have her sign the property over. Before we have her sign anything, how can we determine the value of the property and any tax amounts due?

    Reply
  2. Sophia

    on   said 

    Hi my family lives in a place for almost 37 years now. the lot in which our house is built in not owned by my parents because the mother title or the owner is not that clear. there were claims that someone owns it. they also tried to get some money for us but we told them to present to us the mother title but resist. they told us to give them money. we even got summons and meetings in barangay to settle it. they told us that they will sue us or even file a writ of demolition..it is necessary to do it?what cases can they file against us?

    Reply
  3. Binky

    on   said 

    I have a scenario. The lot is owned by someone1 during pre-war but was transferred to someone2 through reconstitution even if he was not the real owner. Someone2 transferred about 80 lots at once in 1950, including someone1’s lot. So in short, he stole most of the lots and named it under him. But in the registry of deeds, the reconstituted lot has 2 original titles which is misleading. The first original title starts with zero like oct-01xx, the other original is oct-8xxx. Both original title numbers were present in one reconstituted title. Then another descripancy of the same reconstituted title was when it was cancelled and transfered to new transfer title for example t-45678, it belongs to another lot which is also misleading. Upon thorough research, it’s found out that the new transfer title was not t-45678 but t-45679, only the last number was changed to mislead again. When the copy of the t-45679 came out, it has all the details from the previously mentioned reconstituted title but what’s misleading on that transfer title, it came from another lot number once again, a lot from another place that has an existing title until now and not cancelled.

    To summarize, it’s all mismatched and registry of deeds was involved.

    It’s very confusing. The heirs of someone1 wants to recover the property since someone2 was not the real owner and has confusing land title contents. How can the confusing titles be nullified?

    Reply
  4. agnes adaza

    on   said 

    Hi.. i bought a piece of land last April 6 this year from a friend whom he just bought it from a co owner who was the wife on March 15 this year. My question is, is it legal that he sell the piece of land to me even if he did not yet transfer the title into his name.

    Reply
    • gord

      on   said 

      generally , yes it is alright to sell before transfer to his own name would be complete however it would be wisethe consult an attorney for specific cases. Note that the titling process may take longer for you to get it in your name.

      Reply
  5. Roy

    on   said 

    Hello.

    My other has a title, but the 2nd person on title has an incorrect name. Would my other pay a fine to have the title only in her name?

    Reply
  6. Leslie

    on   said 

    My question is: my grand mother got 7 children’s, and she got a land. Which I understood, it should be divided among the 7 children, ( common law) One of her children build a house on that land when my grandma was still alive. Now , grandma is decease, her daughter is dead, but she left it to her son, now, this person that is not legally adopted by one of her sister is claiming it and got a land title, even in the land declaration, it is still name after my grandma. The son was force to move . What can I do to move this people out.

    Reply
    • gord

      on   said 

      This is a question that could be complicated. It would best to speak to an Attorney and give him all the details.

      Reply
  7. Hi Gord,

    We are planning to buy a land and the seller is saying that the land was granted/awarded to them by Duterte. The seller is actually a lumad. What i don’t understand is that they are saying that they have a mother title.

    If duterte awarded the land to them, how come there’s a mother title?

    What they are saying is that on the mother title, they have their name on it. We haven’t seen the title yet as they haven’t given us the copy yet.

    Can i buy the land even though the title is not under his name?

    Can i transact directly to the owner (the one in the mother title)

    Reply
    • This sounds ugly and complicated. With CLOA titles, there is a period of time after award that the awarded owners are barred from selling it. This is usually 10 years. If it is a mother title, it means it was awarded to their ancestors, which would have to be before President Duterte assumed office. Something definitely does not add up here and I would recommend extreme caution. Definitely get a good Attorney that you know you can trust 100%

      Reply
  8. I purchased a land lot in the Philippines and completed all payments. However, fast forward it has been past 7-8 months but nothing has been done regarding the ADS/ TCT despite consistent follow-up. The owner (Mother) with rights equivalently divided to her children etc.) informed me that they cannot provide yet the ADS / TCT since they are facing issues with the land surveyor who apparently did not submit/ have not submitted the land data/documents/ survey plan to verify the boundaries since the owners have allotted/ gifted a small portion of the land to a family friend which in their side of the story says that that portion of the land should first be transferred in the name of the giftee which has not been done/ processed, which adds to the complicated story of the land survey etc. In short, the portion of the land gifted still officially belongs to the owner but i believe some form of agreement in writing (unofficial/ unregistered in the provincial offices i suppose) has been given by the owner to the giftee. Hence, they told me that they cannot process the ADS/ TCT since the land title of that small land portion should be transferred to the giftee since it should not be part of the land(of the original owner) survey technically (is this correct). I am lost in the woods and hope you can shed some light into my situation. Thanks.

    Reply
  9. jed

    on   said 

    Hi! Gord. Good afternoon. We buy the lot property of my auntie 3 years ago. the land was an inheritance from my lolo. her land was fixed and transfered in her name on municipal office when my tito sell his inherent land and house so in that processing each of my mothers brothers got their own land transfered under their name via munisipyo too. they said it is illegal. they said its just a residential lot so they just fixed the land transfer via munisipyo. So 3 years ago we filed a deeds of sale. we have no idea that the deeds has expiration and that once the deeds made the tax gains start effectively. we planned to transfer the land under my mothers name. we went to BIR for the computation purpose only. they gave us a copy of the computation but on that computation they input the date of deeds. the tax declaration number. no sellers and buyers name and no tin both. we have no form filled. because we went there just for the computation. so i have a question if do you think they saved in their record the computation made for us? because we planned not to proceed for transferring in bir for the reason of possible questions on my aunties land that she has no record in bir that her land was transfered under her name via bir and for the possibilies that they may find out that the land was transfered under her name tru munisipyo. and because half of her land was first transfered to my mothers name via munisipyo so afraid that they may find out that too because the land which ist transfered under my mothers name was include at the tax declaration of my aunties remaining land that was sold to us and that my parents name was there too. so we decided not to push through the transfering. Do you think they will haunt us if they found out that we did not proceed the transfer since we already went on bir for the computation? do you think they will force us to proceed the transfer and paid the penalties? Do you think its okay if we will not proceed the transfer via BIR? either not in munisipyo. we just left the land under my aunties name so in that way if they want to buy the land from us its easy to give her the land since the land is not yet transfered under my mothers name. so if we give back the land to her. it is okay? and where we need to go? to the law office who made the deeds and file a quit deeds? What can you advice for me mam/sir? Thanks in advance.

    Reply

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