Real Estate Knowledge: Cambodian Property Titles
A title or deed is an official document that confirms who owns the property, where it is located, and what rights the property owner has a valid claim to the property. As of today, there are 4 forms of property ownership in Cambodia:
Hard Titles are the most secure proof and the strongest form of property ownership in Cambodia. They include detailed information recognized and certified at a national level by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUP).
It should be noted that there is a 4% transfer tax on the “property value” which is determined by an official from the cadastral office when hard title transfer transactions occur. The process usually takes around 12 weeks to complete.
Soft Titles are the most common form of ownership, estimated up to 80% of all properties held in Cambodia. This title form is registered at the local Sangkat (commune) and Khan (district) level, and is not registered at the national level.
Although not as secure as Hard Titles, they are still recognized as valid evidence of procession. Many property transactions have occurred as Soft Titles to avoid transfer tax and fees.
Soft titles are transferred quicker (normally less than 90 days) and are relatively cheaper to acquire for Cambodians.
Note: Foreign nationals are constitutionally prohibited from obtaining Hard Titles and Soft Titles. By extension, this prohibits foreign nationals from owning land and landed properties in Cambodia.
Strata Title or Co-ownership Title is the most recent form of property ownership that was introduced in 2010 to provide approval, allowing foreigners to legally own properties in Cambodia. To be granted a Strata Title, the property must meet the below criteria:
- Only applicable to buildings constructed from 2010 onwards.
- Foreign ownership is limited to 70% of the total surface area of the building or the property.
- Strata Title cannot be issued for properties on the ground floor and/ or underground.
- Sastra Titles cannot be issued for any property within 30km of the nearest land border.
Strata Title or Co-ownership Title is recognized by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUP). The transfer process costs 4% of the total property’s value, which is valued by an official from the cadastral office.
“Land Management and Administration Project” or LMAP is the program designed and launched in 2002, in conjunction with the World Bank, to help implement a systematic registration system to improve the quality of information on land tenure in Cambodia.
Similar to Hard Title, LMAP Titles are recognized by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUP). Where LMAP differs from Hard Title is its inclusion of the exact GPS coordinates that identify the boundaries of the property.
The LMAP transfer process usually takes 12 weeks to complete. The transfer fee costs 4% of the total “property’s value“ which is determined by an official from the cadastral office.