How to Apply for an Original Registration of Land Title in the Philippines

How to apply and register for a Land Title

Buying a property is more than just shelving out a money. There are necessary documents a new homeowner needs to deal with. One of which is a very important document called Land Title. If you’re not familiar with how land titles work in the Philippines, in this article, you’ll learn about how to apply for an original registration of land title.

In the Philippines and possibly in other countries, land title certificate is more than simply a piece of paper. According to the Supreme Court’s definition (GR 155830, Aug. 15, 2012), a certificate of title serves as proof that the person whose name appears on it has an indefeasible and irreversible title to the property. In other words, the certificate protects the owner in the event of a dispute about the validity of the property’s ownership. Furthermore, the certificate can be used to facilitate land transactions such as sale or donation, as well as to allow land to be used as collateral for loans

Transfer or Application of Registration for Land Title in the Philippines

One way we know of acquiring land is through purchasing or receiving it as a donation from a former owner also known as the “subsequent registration”. Following that, the new owner must complete the legal transfer of the property to his or her name as an evidence for ownership. The process is referred to as ‘Transfer of Certificate of Title’.

On the other hand, there is another way of acquiring land which is through Judicial Titling of Tax Declarations, also known as the “original registration”. By virtue of Original Registration the applicant for the land title shall be the first one to acquire the property’s ownership and shall be granted an Original Certificate of Title (OCT).

Who May Apply for Registration of Land Title?

According to Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree or PD1529, the following persons shall be granted the right to apply for initial registration of land title, either personally or through lawfully authorized representatives.

  • Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership 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 under the existing laws.
  • Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by law.

Where to File for Registration of Land Title in the Philippines?

According to Section 17 of PD 1529, The land registration application must be submitted with the Court of First Instance of the province or city in which the land is located. The applicant must provide with the application all original or copies of title documents, as well as a survey plan of the land certified by the Bureau of Lands.

How to Apply for a Land Title in the Philippines?

Required Documents for Application

  • The original plan in tracing cloth duly approved by the Director of Lands/ Regional Lands Director/ Regional technical Director and Two (2) blue print copies duly certified by the aforementioned officers.
  • Three (3) copies of technical description that conforms with LRC Circular No. 365 which duly verified and certified by the Regional Technical Director or his authorized representative.
  • Three (3) copies of certificates from the surveyor or Geodetic Engineer or certificate of non-availability from the Regional Technical Director; and
  • Four (4) copies of the latest Tax Declaration or Assessment Certificate from the Assessor’s Office where the land is located.

Furthermore, the application for land registration must be in writing, signed by the applicant or someone authorized on his behalf, and sworn to before any authority authorized to administer oaths in the province or city where the application was signed and shall contain the following information:

  • Description of the land
  • Civil Status of the applicant. If married, include the name of spouse. If separated (when, where and what court gives the order of separation). If the applicant is of minor age, state the age.
  • Complete name and address of the applicant, the present occupant of the land, owners of the adjacent lands if known, if not known, statement how shall they be located. If minor, complete name and address of legal guardian.
  • Citizenship of the applicant.

The following are the usual stages used for the application process; keep in mind that these processes are not always followed.

1 – File the Petition

The land registration application must be submitted with the Regional Trial Court of the province or city in where the land is located. Land registration cases will be assigned solely to authorized land registration courts. It will take around a week to complete this.

2 – Court Hearing Schedule and Notice to the Public

After filing the petition, the court shall review all of the documents presented and will issue an order specifying the date and time of the initial hearing within five days of the application’s submission.
In addition, the public should be notified of the initial hearing of the land registration application by (1) publishing, (2) mailing, and (3) posting. This is also to notify any disputes or opposition who will challenge the petition.

3 – Commencement of the Hearing

Initially – The initial hearing date and location shall be scheduled not sooner than forty-five days nor later than ninety days after the date of the notification.

A. Did Someone Opposed?

According to PD1529, any individual claiming an interest, whether or not identified in the notice, may present and submit an objection on or before the date of the initial hearing, or within such further time as the court may allow. The opposition must contain all of the objections to the application, as well as the interest asserted by the party filing it and the remedy sought and must be signed and attested to by him or another lawfully authorized person.

B. Adverse Claim on Portion of the Land

If any person’s opposition or adverse claim only covers a portion of the lot and that portion is not properly delimited on the plan attached to the application, or if there is undivided co-ownership, conflicting claims of ownership or possession, or overlapping of boundaries, the court may order the parties to submit an approved subdivision plan.

C. No Opposition

If no one attends or responds within the time allotted, the court shall, on the applicant’s request and with no grounds to the contrary appearing, order a default to be recorded and ask the applicant to submit proof. According to the notice’s description “To All Whom It May Concern,” the entire globe is constituted a defendant and the default order will be issued.

Where an appearance has been entered and a response filed, a default order shall be imposed against people who did not present and answer.

4 – Decision

The court will decide on any competing claims of title and interest in the land subject to the application. If the court determines, after considering the evidence and the reports of the Commissioner of Land Registration and the Director of Lands, that the applicant or opposition’s has sufficient title proper for registration, a judgment confirming the applicant’s or opposition’s title to the land or portions thereof shall be rendered.

If only a section of the land subject to registration is challenged, the court may grant a partial judgment if an authorized subdivision plan depicting the contested and uncontested portions was previously filed.
The decision given in a land registration procedure becomes final once thirty days have passed from the date of receipt of notification as in typical civil proceedings, an appeal from the court’s decision is possible.

5- Issuance of Decree

The court shall issue an order for the issuance of the decree of registration and the related certificate of title in favor of the person determined eligible to register once the judgment has become final and executory.

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