Ownership of Philippine land is generally restricted to Filipinos and Philippine-owned corporations (60% owned by Filipinos), save for certain exceptions. Foreigners who have acquired Philippine land under the following conditions are exempted from the ownership restriction:
- Foreigners who have acquired the land prior to the 1935 Constitution;
- Foreigners who have acquired the land through hereditary succession as a legal or natural heir; and
- Foreigners who acquired the land when they were still Filipino citizens.
Foreigners have two options:
- Own land in the Philippines through a Philippine-owned corporation with 40% foreign equity; or
- Lease Philippine land under the Investor’s Lease Act for a period of 50 years, renewable for another 25 years.
If you are a foreigner who really wants to possess land in the Philippines, we can help you through a Philippine-owned corporation. We can provide you with an appropriate legal structure, where you can exercise full rights over the property with documents that can hold up in court, such as loans, pledges, special powers of attorney, and the like.
If you’ve found great land by the beach and the price is so affordable, conduct due diligence before buying anything.
Some real property issues encountered when buying land are:
- There is no title, but there is a tax declaration from the assessor’s office showing that the seller has been paying real property taxes.
- There is a title but there are liens, encumbrances and annotations on the title, such as a real estate mortgage, notice of adverse claim, or notice of lis pendens.
A title, on the other hand, is evidence of land ownership. However, be wary of fake and spurious titles. Also, when the title has an annotation such as a mortgage, notice of adverse claim, or notice of lis pendens, you buy the land, subject to the mortgage, the adverse claim, or the outcome of the pending court case. We can help you conduct due diligence and cancel annotations such as notices of lis pendens or adverse claims before making a major investment in purchasing any property.