To the new property buyer, Cambodian land title classifications can be rather confusing. Let’s explore the three main ways property ownership can be secured in Cambodia, and the major misconceptions surrounding Cambodian property ownership and Cambodia land titles.
All Cambodian land title records were destroyed between 1975 and 1979. This meant that after the war, proof of ownership had become near impossible. In 1989, a Cambodian Land Law was passed and a revised version was issued in 2001 allowing private ownership of land. The 2001 Land Law created the land registry system issuing Cambodia land titles that remains in place today. Since then, more than two million Cambodia land titles have been issued to Cambodians.
Property ownership can now be secured by one of three forms of Cambodia land title: Hard title, Soft title and Private Ownership in Co-owned Buildings – also known as Strata Title. In addition, a LMAP title is also now available.
1) HARD TITLE:
- Hard title is the strongest form of property ownership in Cambodia and the best Cambodia Land Title.
- Hard titles are an ownership certificate provided by the Land Management and Planning office.
- Hard titles contain detailed information that has been duly recognised and certified at a national level with the Ministry of Land and a cadastral office.
- A Transfer tax of four percent applies when a hard title transaction occurs.
2) SOFT TITLE:
- Soft title is the most common form of ownership and the most commonly issued Cambodia land title.
- It is a Cambodian land title that is recognised at the local government level.
- Soft titles are provided by the local Sangkat or District office and are not registered at a national level – but are still considered a possessory status.
- The majority of property transactions still occur with soft titles to avoid ownership transfer taxes and fees.
- However, most new major development projects are being transacted with hard titles as these are the most durable Cambodia land title.
Check another useful blog post on Realestate.com.kh relevant to Cambodia land titles: “Pitfalls for Foreign Property Ownership in Cambodia."
3) PRIVATE OWNERSHIP:
- Private Ownership in Co-owned Buildings is the most recent form of ownership and allows foreigners to legally own property in Cambodia.
- This is more commonly known as a Strata Title.
- Strata Title is a less common Cambodia land title, but numbers are growing fast.
- The ‘Law on Foreign Ownership’ was promulgated on 24 May, 2010.
- This law limits foreign ownership to co-owned buildings. Foreigners still cannot own land, as it is unconstitutional.
- Co-owned buildings are defined as a building or construction in which several owners reside, consisting of some parts that are the exclusive ownership of each co-owner (private units) and some other parts that are common spaces for the common use of co-owners (common areas). Learn more about the strata title process here.
- A titling system called LMAP (Land Management and Administration Project) has been introduced in Cambodia by the World Bank to improve land tenure security by the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction.
- Under the scheme, GPS coordinates are being registered for all land plots in the country.
- If you have an LMAP title already, the borders have been agreed between neighboring parties so all border disputes have been resolved.
- This is the safest type of title.
Foreign Property Ownership in Cambodia may not be simple, but it is increasingly possible. Always do your due diligence and take your time, and soon you will achieve foreign property ownership in Cambodia, and gain a valuable property asset.
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