REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Registration of title

Is real estate registered/does a reliable register of land ownership exist? Are transfers of title recorded? Is title insurance common?

Angola

Angola

There is a Land Registry Office and all transfers of title are subject to registration. However, with regard to earliest transfers the existing records are not completely reliable. There has been an effort from public authorities to update the existing records and thus to assure and reinstate confidence to acquirers, both foreign and national. Title insurance does not exist in Angola.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes.

Argentina

Argentina

Yes, real estate is registered. Each province manages its own land ownership register. Transfer of title must be registered to be enforceable against third parties. The national recording act is similar to a Race-notice act. The Land Ownership Register also records mortgages, easements, pledges, and any other right that may affect the property rights. Title insurance is not common as the registration process is carried out by a notary, who analyses the title and its status before the relevant register.

Australia

Australia

Not all land is registered, although all land in private ownership is registered.

Land which is not registered is known as 'unallocated or unalientated land'. The first disposition of the land by a state or territory will result in the relevant land becoming registered.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, a buyer must register a transfer of the land in order to become registered as owner of the land and prove title to the property in the future. Registration should therefore take place as soon as possible after the transfer.

Once registered, the details of ownership of the land and certain title documents are made available on a public register.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance exists in Australia although it is rarely used as a substitute for the buyer's investigation of title to the property and undertaking relevant searches and surveys. In addition, the 'title by registration' system provides protection once registration has occurred and therefore title insurance is often viewed as unnecessary.

Belgium

Belgium

Yes, real estate is registered in the competent Legal Security Office (Bureau de Sécurité Juridique / Kantoor Rechtszekerheid). In addition, certain transactions relating to real estate, such as mortgages, leases with a duration exceeding nine years and transfers of rights in rem, are registered in the competent Legal Security Office.

The information contained in the Administration of Legal Security is available to the public.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, transfers of title must be notarized by the public notary who submits the deeds to the Legal Security Office. Other deeds relating to the transfer of title that must be notarized include lease agreements, if the duration is of more than nine years.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance is unusual in Belgium.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Yes. Real estate ownership and property rights are registered in land books which are maintained by the municipal courts in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and by the basic courts in the Republika Srpska (RS).

According to the legislation governing land registers, the following rights are subject to registration:

  • ownership rights, part ownership and joint ownership;
  • mortgages;
  • attachments and pledges;
  • long-term leasehold, pre-emption and resale rights;
  • easements;
  • usufructs;
  • land charges;
  • land debt (as to which see the answer to "Types of security: what sort of security is typically created or entered into by an investor who is borrowing to acquire or develop real estate?" under the Real Estate Finance topic for Bosnia and Herzegovina); and
  • rights of use.

Land registers are accessible to the public in the relevant courts and in the presence of an official employed by the land registry.

In addition to the land registers, municipalities within Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain cadastres, ie property registers.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, transfers of title to real estate are registered in the land register.

The land registry record contains three sections:

  • a description of the real estate in section A;
  • the registration of ownership in section B, together with any restrictions on the owner's rights of disposal and notes on ownership; and
  • details of encumbrances and restrictions in section C.

Purchase agreements are recorded.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Foreign insurance companies can insure property in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) but such insurance is not common.

Brazil

Brazil

Yes. Any real estate transfer must be registered with the relevant real estate registry office to be complete and fully valid and enforceable against third parties. Title insurance does not exist on the Brazilian market.

Are transfers of title recorded in Brazil?

Yes, all transfers are registered with the relevant real estate registry. This registration is required to advertise and effectively transfer the ownership to the buyer. Encumbrances (as mortgages, liens) and contractual limitations also may be registered at the relevant Real Estate Registry Office to be valid vis-à-vis third parties.

Does title insurance exist in Brazil?

No, title insurance does not exist in Brazil.

Canada

Canada

All land in private ownership is registered in the relevant provincial or territorial land registries.

Land which is not in private ownership (owned by a provincial government or the federal government) is typically referred to as ‘Crown land’ and may or may not be registered in the relevant land registries.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, a buyer must register a transfer of the land in order to become registered as owner of the land and prove title to the property in the future. Registration should therefore take place as soon as possible after the transfer.

Once registered, the details of ownership of the land and certain title documents are made available on a public register.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance exists in Canada, but has historically been viewed as unnecessary in the Torrens system jurisdictions that provide protection to purchasers once registration has occurred. However, title insurance is becoming increasingly common in Canadian jurisdictions as a less expensive alternative to a certified survey typically required as a prerequisite to real estate financing.

China

China

Title to real estate is evidenced by registration in the PRC.

The property registration system protects a purchaser acting in good faith in a property transaction. Once the purchaser is registered with the relevant government authorities as the new owner, it is protected against claims brought by third parties that have not been registered. Therefore title insurance is not available in the PRC as the title registration is a reliable evidence of title involved.

Colombia

Colombia

In Colombia, real estate is registered in the Registry Office, which is a land registry system administered by the Superintendent of Notaries and Registries. Land ownership registration is an important process to establish and guarantee ownership of real estate.

The Registry Office is responsible for maintaining up-to-date information on real estate and property transfers. When a transfer of ownership takes place, the transaction must be registered in the Registry Office corresponding to the place where the real estate is located.

The registration of ownership transfers is essential for the transfer to be valid, to ensure the legal security of the real estate and to establish the chain of ownership. The registration of a transfer in the registry provides publicity and opposability to third parties, which means the acquisition of real estate by a new owner becomes legally recognized and opposable to any other claim or right over the real estate.

It’s not common or customary to acquire title insurance in Colombia. So, in some cases, the parties might agree that a percentage of the payment be made once the title has been registered in the registry office and the certificate of ownership has been obtained. Or they might set up an escrow account for a limited period of time.

Croatia

Croatia

The land register contains data on property rights and is kept by the land register courts (municipal courts). It includes information on the legal status of all real estate such as title, mortgages, encumbrances, easements, sales and purchases, usage rights and any pending disputes.

Municipalities also keep real estate cadastres containing technical information about land plots, buildings and plants.

The public can follow a standard procedure to obtain relevant cadastral information.

Both the real estate cadastres and the land registers are accessible via the internet.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Title and other rights to real estate are registered with the land registry. Title to real estate is acquired upon registration.

Since the land registry records are not entirely up to date, due diligence should include an investigation of the cadastral registers.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Although title insurance is not yet available in the Croatian market, some foreign insurance companies are offering it to foreign investors. Title insurance is expected to be available in the Croatian market soon. 

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

All real estate (with the exception of underground structures) is registered in the Cadastral Register. This is administered by special 'cadastral offices', which are each responsible for their own district. The Cadastral Register contains general information about real estate, including:

  • The name of the owner
  • A description of the property (including size and identification)
  • Type and permitted use (for example, agricultural land, built-up areas, wasteland, meadow, residential or industrial)
  • Any specific categories of protection (for example, heritage property, agricultural land, etc), and
  • Any encumbrances (such as pledges, mortgages, easements and pre-emption rights)

It also records how the title to ownership has been acquired and other relevant information.

Some real estate is still registered in the 'land register' which predates the Cadastral Register. This contains residual information on certain real estate which has not been carried forward into the Cadastral Register, since the process of incorporation is still ongoing. However, the number of entries remaining in the land register is limited.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, transfer of title must be recorded in the Cadastral Register to be effective. All transfer documents are subject to review by the relevant cadastral office, which examines whether all the legal requirements of the transfer have been met. If this is found not to be the case, the parties to the transaction must remedy the situation, otherwise the transfer cannot be registered. However, since the cadastral office examines only certain aspects of each transaction, it cannot be held responsible if the transfer proves to be invalid for some other reason.

Apart from ownership rights, pledges and mortgages, easements, and certain types of pre-emption right, the Cadastral Act contains new provisions governing other types of rights which are also registered in the Cadastral Register (such as a right of construction or, subject to owner's approval or application, a lease). Preliminary sale agreements cannot be recorded.

Any documentation is archived in the "Collection of Deeds" which forms part of the Cadastral Register.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Yes, although provided almost exclusively by foreign insurance companies.

Denmark

Denmark

Yes, and title documentation from the Land Register is considered a reliable. The Danish state is liable for faulty registrations and errors in the Land Register. As such, title insurance is not necessary in Denmark

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, it is customary to register a deed of conveyance in the Land Register to perfect the transfer of title. It is customary to regulate the transfer of title in the purchase agreement.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

No. The Danish state is liable for faulty registrations and errors in the Land Register. As such, title insurance is not necessary in Denmark.

France

France

Ownership of real estate, as well as important matters affecting it, such as mortgages, lender’s lien, easements and leases of over 12 years, must be registered with the registry maintained by the locally competent mortgage office (Service de Publicité Foncière) in order to be enforceable towards third parties. The information recorded is generally available to the public at a nominal cost.

The registration is carried out by notaries and is normally subject to a real estate publication fee (Taxe de Publicité Foncière). The real estate publication fee for long-term leases amounts to 0.715% of the total rent and service charges due for the entire period of the lease (within the limit of 20 years). Transfers of title trigger transfer taxes at a rate from 5.09% to 5.81% depending on the characteristics of the transfer, it being specified that (i) transactions involving “new” buildings or transactions whereby the buyer commits to re selling the property within a five-year period are subject to a 0.715% transfer tax and that (ii) if the buyer commits to erect a building within a four year period and complies with such undertaking, a fixed registration duty of EUR125 will apply.

Preliminary sale agreements, known in France as promises to sell (promesses de vente), are not normally recorded at the mortgage registry, but must be recorded with the tax authorities. The tax authorities keep this information confidential.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Under the French legal system and regarding asset deals, the notary is responsible for ensuring that the buyer receives a valid title to the property. This is one of the mandatory duties of notaries, for which they receive fees proportionate to the value of the property.

The risk of malpractice by a notary is covered by a system of indemnification provided by all notaries within a given Département of the French Republic. Title insurance is, therefore, not generally available in France.

Warranty and indemnity insurance and related insurance over titles tend to become market practice for share deal transactions.

Germany

Germany

Real estate is registered in the land register which is kept by the local courts. Information is not publicly available and is only accessible to those who can demonstrate a legitimate interest. Also, access to the registers can be gained by a notary, who is always deemed to have a legitimate interest, if instructed to carry out notarial work regarding the property.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Every transfer of title must be registered in the land register and title only passes to the buyer once registration is complete. The information registered relates to the premises, the owner, easements and similar encumbrances, land charges and mortgages.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance is neither common nor necessary in Germany since buyers can rely on the accuracy of the land register. Title to property can only be acquired via registration in the land register, actual possession of the land is not sufficient. As long as a buyer does not know about a specific inaccuracy in the contents of the land register, ownership is acquired in good faith (bona fide).

Hong Kong, SAR

Hong Kong, SAR

Under the Land Registration Ordinance, registrable documents include those instruments which:

  • are in writing; and
  • affect land in Hong Kong.

Once registered, the transfer of title is recorded with details of ownership of the land and certain title documents which are made available to the public.

A purchaser must register all instruments effecting a transfer within one month after the time of execution in order to preserve priority so that the transfer takes effect as at the date of execution. Such registration will ensure that the purchaser has priority over any subsequent encumbrances registered against the land by any third party such as charging orders and mortgages . This is a reliable government run system, however, registration affects only priority and does not produce or effect title.

Title insurance

The Land Titles Ordinance (Cap. 585 of the Laws of Hong Kong), which is still being discussed in the legislature, will introduce a system of title registration and title insurance in Hong Kong. However, it is not clear when this will become effective.

Hungary

Hungary

All plots of land in Hungary are registered with land registry offices located in designated Hungarian cities. The land register comprises:

  • the land registry excerpts (including title deeds)
  • the document archives
  • the land registry maps, and
  • deleted entries (indicating former owners or right holders).

It also includes other information relating to the real estate, such as details of encumbrances and easements, and, in the case of agricultural land, the cadastral income. The land register and the information registered in the land register is very reliable.

Land registers are accessible to the public, notes can be taken and official copies requested. Some of this information is also available on the internet to registered users. However, in some cases (for example, in the case of documents and official resolutions kept in the document archive) permission is required from the covenantee or grantee to access and to apply for copies.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

The transfer of title is recorded in the land register. Transfer of ownership of real estate is only valid once it is registered in the land register. Registration can be based on:

  • a sale and purchase agreement in notarial deed
  • a sale and purchase agreement countersigned by an attorney-at-law or legal counsel
  • a decision by the court and authorities.

Letters of intent and preliminary sale agreements cannot be registered. However, if the property is sold with title retention (ie the final purchase agreement has been signed but the transfer of title is still subject to the payment of the full purchase price), then the fact of the sale with title retention can be registered in the land register, effectively preventing the seller from selling the property to a third party.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Yes, it is available, although it is very rarely obtained by purchasers, largely due to the fact that the land register is very reliable in Hungary.

Foreign insurance companies offer title insurance in Hungary.

Ireland

Ireland

There are two systems of registration of property interests in Ireland namely the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds, both of which are operated by the Tailte Eireann (formerly Property Registration Authority). The two systems are mutually exclusive.

The Registry of Deeds is the older system and is most frequently encountered in urban areas. This is simply a record of transactions rather than a record of ownership.

Most property outside urban areas has now been registered with the Land Registry, which is a more modern system of registration of title guaranteed by the state. The purchaser (for value) of a property consisting of a Registry of Deeds title must now register that title in the Land Registry by way of an application for first registration.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes. The transfer of title is recorded or registered in either the Registry of Deeds (a record of transactions) or with the Land Registry (a more modern system of registration of title guaranteed by the state). On a transfer of title for value, property, title to which was previously registered in the Registry of Deeds, is now subject to compulsory registration in the Land Registry.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Yes but it is not common and it is not used as a substitute for a buyer’s investigation of title to a property. It is generally only used to insure against a specified defect in title

Italy

Italy

Real estate is registered in the Cadastre Register, which is held by the municipality in which the property is located, and consists of the Land Cadastre, in which undeveloped land is recorded, and the Building Cadastre in which buildings are recorded. Both land and buildings must be registered and after registration are attributed a ‘cadastral income’.

The Building Cadastre distinguishes between buildings according to their planning designation and use (such as office space, residential property, warehouses, parking lots, shops, etc) and attributes a value to them known as the cadastral income. This forms the basis for calculating the municipal property tax (IMU). Cadastral income can be subject to review by the relevant authority.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Although it is not a requirement for the validity of the transfer, deeds are usually filed with the Real Estate Register (Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari) held by each municipality, in order to prevent possible conflicts with future buyers and third parties. The register records information relating to the property, including sales and purchases, mortgages, easements and rights of use, as well as any pending disputes. Any right in rem, including the right of full ownership, is not effective against the person who effected a filing (trascrizione) on the property if it is registered after the filing of that person's right, even if the relevant right was acquired earlier A filing can benefit from these rules only if the previous acquisition deed has also been properly filed (the rule of continuity of filings, ie an uninterrupted chain of ownership).

The Real Estate Register is accessible to the general public.

Preliminary agreements relating to an existing property or to a property under construction can also be registered in order to protect the buyer against any subsequent filing of third parties’ rights (such as mortgages or lawsuits against the property). or a second sale of the same asset. This protection stops one year after the completion date specified in the preliminary agreement and, in any event, three years after the registration of the preliminary agreement. The filing of a preliminary agreement does not have the same effect as for the final sale agreement, but it gives retrospective effect to the final agreement as from the date of filing of the preliminary agreement (the booking effect – effetto prenotativo).

Does title insurance exist in this country?

The execution of collateral insurances (like as W&I and/or Title insurance), aimed to mitigate the risks related to real estate transactions is becoming an increasingly common practice also in Italy.

In any case, please note that it is customary in Italy that public notaries carry out a search on title in the Real Estate Register. The notary’s report is usually part of the legal due diligence and includes an investigation into the existence of any third-party rights as well as the seller’s title to the property. An investor will usually appoint a notary public to provide an updated 20-year notarial report (relazione notarile ventennale), which is the only document providing legally conclusive evidence of legal title to the property and the relevant encumbrances burdening the same, as well as of the compliance with the principle of continuity of the filing with Real Estate Register of the title deeds over the property.

Japan

Japan

Are transfers of title recorded?

Yes.  Title to real estate is evidenced in the real estate registry maintained by the Legal Affairs Bureau.

Since the purchaser cannot assert the title to third parties without registration of the transfer, the transfer of real estate is almost invariably registered at the time of the closing of a sale and purchase agreement (SPA).

Is title insurance common?

No, title insurance is not common in Japan.

Netherlands

Netherlands

Is real estate registered/does a reliable register of land ownership exist?

Yes.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

In the Netherlands the Land Registry records all important information concerning real estate. All property has its own specific section and number in the Land Registry, which is available online to everyone. It is impossible to transfer property without registration.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

No, the registration process offers the buyer an appropriate level of security.

New Zealand

New Zealand

Yes, the New Zealand operates on a "Torrens System" under which all legal ownership and many interests in land are recorded in the "register" administered by LINZ. There is a single register for each land holding (title), and a historical record of past transfers and interests can be obtained from the website by the public for a relatively small fee.

Transfers of titles are recorded electronically. The records of title issued by LINZ are guaranteed by the government and a registered owner has "indefeasibility of title." Therefore, title insurances are rarely required.

In some merger and acquisition deals, which may include the transfer of property, a purchaser might chose to get warranty and indemnity insurance (W&I insurance). While not specifically title insurance, W&I insurance can cover losses for breaches of vendor warranties including those relating to the quality of the vendor's title, or the vendor's ability to give good title for the property.

Nigeria

Nigeria

There are Land Registry Offices in all states of Nigeria where the registers and records of all real property in urban areas are registered and updated as further real estate transactions occur.

There are however, no registries for title or records of ownership rights for undeveloped lands in rural areas, however, all lands within a state are covered by the geometric survey plans prepared by the State’s Surveyor General and kept in the survey departments of the states where land information confirming state rights and purpose can be obtained by an intending purchaser.

An investor in real estate in a rural land that is unregistered and free from government acquisition may after purchase from the customary owners apply to the State Governor for a direct grant of the right of occupancy.

Title insurance against losses due to defects in owner’s title in real property is not common in Nigeria.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Real estate title records are duly documented in the Register of Deeds securely kept at the respective States’ Lands Registry Offices and in the respective states in Nigeria and the Federal Land Registries in Nigeria. The register is an authoritative record of the interests in specific properties. All subsequent transfer of interests in real property are registered in the respective files as a charge and record of the transfer of the title to the purchaser or assignee.

Norway

Norway

All property transactions, including sales and purchases, mortgages, easements and rights of use, as well as any pending disputes, can be registered.

Any interested party can access the Land Register, which is organized by title and land number for each municipality. Even though it is not a legal requirement, deeds of transfer are usually filed with the Land Register (Kartverket) to establish legal protection against claims by third parties and avoid potential conflicts with subsequent buyers.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Even though it is not a legal requirement, deeds of transfer are usually filed with the Land Register (Kartverket) to establish legal protection against claims by third parties and avoid potential conflicts with subsequent buyers. All property transactions, including sales and purchases, mortgages, easements and rights of use, as well as any pending disputes, can be registered. Any interested party can access the Land Register, which is organized by title and land number for each municipality.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance is in principle available, but is not common except in events where there are specific risks related to the legal title, typically due to a preceding split and separate transfer of the formal and beneficial ownership to the property respectively.

Poland

Poland

There are two types of publicly available land register in Poland:

  1. The land and mortgage register (księgi wieczyste), the purpose of which is to register titles to land and encumbrances thereon, and
  2. The land and buildings register (ewidencja gruntów i budynków), whose function is more technical as it contains information concerning physical features of the land, class of land and its use

Generally, real estate in Poland is registered and legal title can be identified on the basis of entries in the land and mortgage registers which are maintained by the relevant district courts. Each land and mortgage register is accessible to the public and excerpts are available on application subject to a nominal fee. The registers are also available online.

The Polish land and mortgage register system protects those who acquire real estate in good faith relying on the entries in the register. A person acquiring real estate from a party who is registered as the property owner in the land and mortgage register will generally become the new owner, even if an error has been made in the recorded details.

Similarly, encumbrances are only binding on someone who bought in good faith if they were disclosed in the land and mortgage register. This is subject to various exceptions, for example, there is no protection against certain mandatory easements or encumbrances which apply by law such as rights of way.

The buyer of shares in a company holding title to land is not protected in the same way. Land and mortgage registers are freely accessible but the files are open only to parties who can prove a legal interest. This usually means that only those whose rights are already noted in the register can access the entries. From December 2014, all Polish land and mortgage courts maintain their registers in electronic form.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Under Polish law, legal title to real estate can generally be identified on the basis of the entries in the land and mortgage registers maintained by the relevant district courts. This is subject to various exceptions, for example there is no protection against certain mandatory easements or encumbrances which apply as a matter of law such as rights of way.

Recording transfer of title is compulsory. It should, however, be noted that, under Polish law, the transfer of ownership rights occurs on the execution of the sale and purchase deed. The acquisition of a perpetual usufruct right becomes effective when it is registered in the land and mortgage register. Mortgages must also be registered. The content of land and mortgage registers is conclusive on matters of legal title.

The legal interests of third parties, such as lease rights, including easements and pre-emption rights, can also be registered in the land and mortgage registers, although this is not mandatory. When registered these interests become binding on any party acquiring the real estate so registration is recommended to prevent any claim that the buyer did not know about such interests.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance policies are becoming increasingly popular. Insurance typically covers the effective transfer or acquisition of mortgage and perpetual usufruct rights, which only become effective upon entry in the mortgage register. There are also occasions where insurance policies are used to secure the effective acquisition of ownership of real estate.

Portugal

Portugal

Yes. Real estate is subject to registry with the relevant Land Registry Office. Registration is reliable.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes. Transfers of title must be recorded with the Real Estate Registry and afterwards registered with the Tax Services.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

No, title insurance does not exist in Portugal.

Romania

Romania

Under Romanian law, in order to be validly enforceable against third parties, ownership rights obtained by the acquirer of real estate must be registered in the relevant Land Books. The records in the Land Books are collated by reference to the real estate and not to the owners.

Failure to register ownership has no effect on the validity of any transfer agreement. It will nonetheless make it ineffective against third parties. In such cases, if two different buyers acquire the same real estate from the registered owner, the first to register the right in the Land Book, if acting in good faith, will be deemed to be the new legal owner, whilst the other buyer can only attempt to recover the selling price and any other proven loss from the seller through court action.

Once cadastral schemes have been completed across Romania, real estate registration will be required for property rights over real estate to be validly acquired and not only to make them binding on third parties.

On request, the relevant Land Book office issues excerpts evidencing what rights and encumbrances have been registered over the real estate. These excerpts are only valid for limited periods of time, with the length of that validity depending on the purpose for which the excerpt was obtained.

Title insurance is possible and allowed in Romania. Due to the risks generated by the previous communist regime in relation to real estate ownership in Romania, investors choose to protect large investments by taking out title insurance policies. However, title insurance is not common (as yet) in Romanian real estate transactions.

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic

Under the Cadastral Act, all real estate and most rights over real estate are registered with the Cadastral Registry.

The Cadastral Registry is maintained by the respective district offices.

The following rights should be registered:

  • Ownership rights
  • Mortgages
  • Servitudes (or easements)
  • Pre-emption rights
  • Rights in favour of the government (at state, regional or municipal level)
  • Land leases of at least five years (registration is optional)

Information contained in the Cadastral Registry is available to the public.

However, documentation submitted to the Cadastral Registry for the purposes of registering real estate rights is only available to a limited extent.

Spain

Spain

Yes, in Spain there is a land registry and a cadastral registry. The information recorded in both of these is accessible to the public, except for certain personal information recorded at the cadastral registry.

The land registry provides a high level of legal security in relation to property rights and real estate transactions. It records transactions and contracts relating to property, as well as rights 'in rem'. Registration at the land registry is voluntary.

The cadastral registry is an administrative registry where rural and urban property is recorded. This holds information on the physical, legal and economic characteristics of the property, including:

  • The location
  • Reference
  • Size
  • Use
  • Designation
  • Type of cultivation
  • Construction
  • The cadastral value

It also contains a plan of the property. The value assigned to the real estate at the cadastral registry serves as a basis for determining the level of property tax (impuesto de bienes inmuebles).

The registries are independent of each other, although both use the cadastral reference as a form of identification for properties.

Sweden

Sweden

All real estate in Sweden is registered in the Real Property Register. From 1 July 2008 the registration section of the Real Property Register (Real Property Registration Register) has been kept by the Land Survey Authority (previously it was kept by the Land Registration Authority). The authority is responsible for maintaining the Swedish land register, which includes details of past and present owners, registered mortgages, tax values, easements etc.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes, the buyer must file an application for registration of ownership with the Land Survey Authority within three months of the purchase in order to obtain a certificate of registration of title. The sale and purchase agreement or the bill of sale must be attached to the application. The buyer is considered to be the rightful owner of the real estate as soon as the transfer is registered.

It is also possible to apply to the Land Registration Authority to register mortgages and certain other property rights.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

No.

Thailand

Thailand

Yes, real estate is registered. Ownership of land or real estate, as well as other forms of rights in land, such as leases of over three years, mortgages, rights of servitude, habitation, superficies and usufruct must be registered by a competent official at the relevant land office for the area in which the land is situated.

Transfers of land are recorded. Every transfer of title must be registered at the relevant land office in which the land is situated. After the completion of registration, the information recording the transfer of ownership of the land or real estate will be recorded at the relevant land office.

Title insurance does not exist in Thailand.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

Within Abu Dhabi and outside the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

Not all land is registered. Once registered, the details of ownership of the land are made available only to the interested parties (ie it is not available to the public) and therefore a potential purchaser must request a copy of the seller’s title deed rather than carry out a public search.

Within the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

In the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone (ADGM), all real estate transfers that are recognised by the ADGM must be registered in the ADGM Land Register, including agreements to create conveyances. The ADGM Land Register is publicly searchable and the ADGM shall issue certificates of title to interested parties and also priority searches (which can be used by lenders when taking security), These are very useful features that are not currently available through the Abu Dhabi land registration system.

There are no express references in the ADGM regulations to compensation being paid to purchasers who rely on incorrect information in the registered title maintained by the ADGM Land Register or fraudulently registered conveyances.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Within Abu Dhabi and outside the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

Yes and failure to register means ownership does not pass and the documentation is considered not to be enforceable save for the personal obligations between the parties.

Within the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

An instrument which is required to be registered does not convey an interest in real property until the instrument is registered. However, nothing in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Real Property Regulations prevents an instrument that is:

  • Not eligible for registration, or
  • Lodged for registration but not yet registered

from operating as a contract between the parties thereto, or from being otherwise enforceable according to its terms.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

No.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

Yes. All transactions that create, transfer, change or cancel rights over land in Dubai must be registered (since the introduction of Law No (7) of 2006) at the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Administrative Resolution No. 134 of 2013 makes it also a requirement to register long leases (those with a term of 10 years or longer) at the DLD.  Leases with a shorter term are registered on Ejari for a nominal fee.

The property register at the Dubai Land Department is not open to the public.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

The register itself is private. Therefore, there is no publicly available information regarding ownership of land in Dubai. The only way a third party can obtain independent confirmation from the DLD as to the legal owner of a particular piece of land is if it presents a 'no objection certificate' from the owner to such third party seeking to obtain such information.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance is not common.

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

The majority of land in England and Wales is registered. Since 1 April 1990 (and before that in some areas) it has been compulsory to register land in England and Wales following any sale. It is also possible to register land voluntarily at any time and HM Land Registry provides certain financial incentives to do so. Despite this, some land in England and Wales remains unregistered (around 13% of all land, according to an estimate by HM Land Registry in September 2019).

Once registered, the details of ownership of the land and certain title documents are made available to the public.  Each property has its own ‘register of title’ (sometimes several where more than one interest in that property exists), the accuracy of which is guaranteed by HM Land Registry.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

A buyer must register the transfer in order to be able to demonstrate their title to the property in the future.

Registration must take place as soon after the transfer as possible.

Contracts for the sale of land can also be registered to ensure the seller cannot transfer the land to a third party without being subject to the buyer's contract.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Yes, although it is rarely used as a substitute for the buyer's investigation of title to the property and arrangement of searches and surveys except in some large portfolio transactions when many properties are involved and it is not feasible to carry out due diligence on all of them.

Parties may sometimes agree to take out title insurance in relation to a particular issue revealed by the investigations: for example, if a covenant appears to have been breached but no action has so far been taken.

UK - Scotland

UK - Scotland

Yes. Until 1979 all land transfers were registered in a public deeds register called the General Register of Sasines. Since then, land transfers have been registered in the Land Register of Scotland. Members of the public can access all information relating to real estate recorded in this way, including the identity of the current owner, the price paid for the property and any obligations affecting the property.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Yes. It is essential that transfers of title are registered in the Land Register of Scotland as title will only pass to the buyer once the relevant deed has been registered.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Yes. The parties may sometimes agree to take out title insurance in relation to a particular matter revealed by the title investigations, for example a lack of required access rights.

Ukraine

Ukraine

As from 1 January 2013, title to real estate must be registered in the State Register of Proprietary Rights over Immovable Property as a condition for the validity of the title to real estate.

Since 1 January 2016 registration powers in respect of title to land and other real estate have been decentralized, ie the authority to effect state registration of title to real estate has been passed to the executive bodies of municipalities and legal entities authorized by Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

With effect from 1 January 2013 notaries were authorized to register title to any real estate that is transferred in a transaction notarized by that notary. As from 1 January 2016 the authority of the notaries as a title registration body was broadened and notaries were granted similar powers to register title to real estate as those vested in the state registrars of municipalities or legal entities authorized by Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

The new amendment of the Title Registration Act has set up the principle of extra-territoriality. Thus, the notaries and state registrars of the executive bodies of municipalities can register any title to real estate irrespective of the location of the real estate, but within the boundaries of their region, the cities of Kyiv or Sevastopol.

State registrars acting under the authority of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, who were authorized to register title to real estate with effect from 1 January 2013 will exercise their powers until the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the termination of their authority is adopted.

Claims challenging the decisions, actions and/or inactivity of the state registrars may be filed with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice of Ukraine or the relevant court.

The information from the State Register of Rights Over Immovable Property is publicly available. In particular, every person has the right to obtain information about the owners of the real estate (including buildings, structures, land plots etc), if those rights are registered in that State Register. Since 1 January 2015 the information in the State Register of the Rights Over Immovable Property has become publicly available online via web-site of the Ministry of Justice at this link.

All transactions affecting real estate (both plots of land and other property) executed prior to 1 January 2013 were also registered with the State Registry of Deeds (a record of transactions) administered by the Ministry of Justice and operated by the notaries. Almost every real estate transaction must be registered with this registry. As from 1 January 2013, registration of real estate transactions is abolished (the State Register of Deeds is discontinued) and replaced with registration of titles under the Title Registration Act.

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Almost every transfer of title effected in Ukraine up to 1 January 2013 was subject to mandatory registration in the State Register of Deeds (a record of transactions). As from 1 January 2013, a transfer of title is not subject to registration under Ukrainian law, but only the title itself.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Some insurance companies offer this kind of insurance, although it is not well established in Ukraine yet.

United States

United States

There is no single property register for all properties in the US. Each county within each state maintains its own property records. Transfers of title are typically recorded; however, leases and licenses may not be recorded. Title insurance is common.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Are transfers of title recorded in this country?

Real estate and title thereto is kept on a register which is held at the Registrar of Deeds Office. All transfers of title are effected through the Registrar and a record is kept at the Deeds Office. Registration of the transfer should be as soon as a transfer is completed.

Does title insurance exist in this country?

Title insurance is taken out to protect an owner’s or a lender’s financial interest in real property against loss due to title defects, liens or related aspects. Currently, Zimbabwean insurance companies do not make provision for title insurance.