Property Insight: Land Title Transfer Process

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Sciaroni & Associates legal advisor Kiri Sereyrath helps explains the process for transferring land titles in Cambodia.

After execution of the sale and purchase agreement entered into between the seller and buyer, the parties sign and thumb-print on the Vente Definitive (official title transfer document) in the presence of a Cadastral officer at the location agreed upon with the Cadastral officer.  The seller and buyer then submit any other required documents (such as the below) to the Municipal Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, Construction and Cadastre (the “Cadastral Authority”).

  • If buyer/ seller is a company, then a shareholder resolution and three (3) certified copies of the ID card of the authorized representative (Khmer national) are required.  Any foreign shareholders must provide three (3) certified copies of their passport.
  • If buyer/ seller is an individual then three (3) certified copies of the ID card are required.
  • If the buyer/ seller is an individual foreigner with Cambodian citizenship, then (3) certified copies of the ID card and a certified copy of the Royal Decree granting citizenship are required.

The Cadastral officer begins processing the transfer by taking the Vente Definitive and other required documents to the Sangkat (i.e. commune level office). Special certification may be necessary at the Sangkat level where a new owner is unmarried or where a spouse expressly declares no interest in the subject land. The Sangkat officer certifies on the Vente Definitive.

The Cadastal officer will pick up the Vente Definitive from the Sangkat office and verify the Vente Definitive and other submitted documents. The Cadastral officer then contacts the person who engaged the officer and notifies that person that the transfer application documents are ready to be picked up and taken to the General Department of Taxation (“GDT”).

The application documents received from the Cadastral Authority are submitted to the GDT and a GDT officer is assigned to the matter.  The GDT officer inspects the land/ property to be transferred and determines the transfer tax amount based on the assessed value of the land (according to the GDT officer). Within 1-2 weeks, the GDT officer assigned to the matter may be contacted for the amount of transfer tax owed.

The amount of transfer tax owed is paid to the GDT through a local bank by the designated party and a receipt is issued to the paying party (the buyer is obligated under law to pay transfer tax but the usual practice is that the seller pays the tax).

All approved documents including evidence of transfer tax payment and Vente Definitive are brought to the Cadastral Authority office at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and new title ownership is recorded in the records of the Cadastral Authority and registered at the national level – at the General Department of Cadastre and Geography of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

The original title in the name of the new owner is issued by the Cadastral Authority and the relevant Cadastral Authority officer will notify the person who first engaged the officer that the transfer is complete and the original title is available to be picked up.

This article was written by Kiri Sereyrath, Legal Advisor at Sciaroni & Associates, and was originally published in Construction & Property Magazine Issue No. 29.

Sciaroni & Associates, one of Southeast Asia’s leading professional services and investment advisory firms, has been providing skilled counsel and knowledgeable business insights for over two decades. Based in Cambodia with legal offices in  Laos and Myanmar, our experienced team of advisors brings considerable general and sector-specific expertise to the challenges confronting companies doing business in emerging markets.  We are proud that our clients comprise many of the world’s premier companies, banks, financial institutions, governments and global development organisations.

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