Land titling can easily be faked, get damaged by act of God, or used to deceive prospective buyers when presented to people with less familiarity with these documents. So if you are a lot owner precariously holding that fragile paper title, you must be feeling anxious you’ll lose the copy you only have.
To address these concerns, the Land Registration Authority, in a real estate summit hosted by the the Organization of Property Stakeholders Inc. has aimed to upgrade to E-Titles which are basically digitized copy of all valid land titles.
The computerization project aims to:
- Maintain on-line information on titles that is current, complete and accurate.
- Maintain the security and integrity of records by safeguarding these from tampering or destruction and deter substitution or insertion of questionable data, in paper or digital form; and
- Provide a system of timely detection and identification of fake land titles which will assist in the identification of persons responsible therefore.
We see the idea as a much-needed upgrade to the existing (and outdated) system of land titling in the Philippines.
Here are some of the benefits why your land title should be converted to E-Titles.
1) You’ll be more secured from various forms of real estate fraud or potentially scam transaction.
Those who are not well-versed in distinguishing between a bogus and an authentic land title, especially the elderly owners who cling on what could be their most precious asset to pass on to the next generation, could be among the most vulnerable and likely to become victims of property scams. That’s because it’s now very easy to copy a legitimate document, and show to potential buyers, sending multiple cases in court once disputes occur.
An E-Title will eliminate such possibility as it’s virtually stored in a Registry of Deeds vault and can only be accessed within 154 Land Registration Authority office kiosks. Extra annotations that comes on the paper title will be carried over to the new E-Title, such as those with pending court cases. This means a potential buyer will immediately know whether a tract of land on offer for sale is, in fact, subject of a litigation.
2) Processing of property transactions will be quicker.
Imagine taking the old method of retrieving information about titles: spend days or weeks following up on application, processing, verification and release of documents. With the E-Titles, TOPS President Michael Jansen Abella said procurement and verification of certified true copies of the land titles would be a lot easier. This is especially the case when retrieving the history of ownership of the property.
He emphasized that before acquiring a property, buyers have to ensure there are no other claimants. Computerization of the system will also make it easier to generate certified true copies of land titles, especially those that didn’t change hands for over a century.
3) Processing of home mortgage will become faster.
Not all of Land Registration Authority kiosks are hosted by major banks in the Philippines, where many of home mortgage loans are obtained. So with the upgrade in system, TOPS-LRA Summit Chairman Atty. Rodolfo Fernandez says there will be reduction in waiting time:
Verification of authenticity of land title will only take minutes or hours instead of several days.
Visit to the Registry of Deeds site where paper title is kept will become unnecessary.
4) E-Titles will resolve the complex process of replacing lost or destroyed titles.
Although there is a standard process in reconstituting paper titles lost or destroyed by force majeure as determined by the LRA, there are multiple steps that need to be followed as described in the following charts.
On the other hand, with E-Title, the process requires much fewer steps:
5) The program helps government processes become more efficient
Besides cutting time and bureaucratic red tape, adopting the new system will dispel the notion that transacting with the government is a tedious and long process.
The new E-title option for property owners provides them with peace of mind, and helps create a new perception that the government is moving forward from slow deliverer to a more efficient provider of service to all taxpayers.