Under property law, a land title refers to a formal document that serves as evidence of ownership. After a change of ownership is formalized, a transfer of title to the property may be required in order to transfer ownership of the property to another person or organization.
Therefore, to ensure rightful ownership of a tract of land, a registered land title provides legal protection of an owner against unauthorized claims such as squatters or land grabbers.
The Land Registration Authority has implemented an agency-wide computerization program and this has significantly shortened its land titling process in just five simple steps and can be accomplished within one visit to any Register of Deeds office anywhere in the country.
Step 1. Submit the conveyance instrument and all supporting documents to the entry clerk at the Registry of Deeds. The applicant will receive an electronic primary entry book number to confirm receipt of the conveyance instrument and supporting documents.
Step 2. Pay the corresponding fees. Fees vary based on the value of a property.
Step 3. The documents will be turned over to the examiner who will check if all the requirements have been met, after which the information would be encoded.
Step 4. If the requirements are complete, the RD approves the applicant.
Step 5. A new land title will finally be printed and issued to the applicant.
- Land titles are conducted on a “first in registration, first in right” policy. This means that the person or entity who registered the land first gets the legal preferential right to own it first.
- To avoid potential conflicts in land ownership, other claimants to the same property cannot stop the registration process on the condition that the first applicant has satisfactorily complied the requirements such as entering the instrument to the Register of Deeds, has been issued an EPEB number as proof of receipt of documentary requirements by the office, as well as payment of necessary fees.An exemption to the rule is through a temporary restraining order issued by the court, or when the applicant failed to meet the requirements, in which case the application could be denied and the submitted instruments cannot be registered.
However, any registrant whose application for registration was denied by an RD can still file an appeal called “consulta” with the LRA head office. Consulta refers to the quasi-judicial power of the LRA to reverse or affirm the RD’s decision, as the case may be.
2 Ways to Register Unregistered Lands
1. Judicial Process. This involves filing a petition in court for original registration of title for a property with no existing title. The claimant must be able to present proof of land possession, along with all other requirements by the court.
Once the petition has been resolved, the court will order the Land Registration Authority to issue a decree of registration and the corresponding original certificate of title that will be registered with the Registry of Deeds.
2. Administrative Process. This process is coursed through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other agencies that have the authority to issue public land titles. The claimant can go to the DENR and apply for a patent.
The application is thoroughly screened, and if found meritorious, a patent title that has the same function as a Torrens title is issued and registered with the registry offices.
Land Registration Offices