I am a British subject, but I have permanent residency in the Philippines. My wife is a Filipina, and she has dual citizenship. I am working in a company based here, and I want to buy a condo unit where my family can stay. Is it possible for us to purchase a condo unit?
The law says ownership of a condominium is an interest in real property that must also conform with the constitutional proscription against aliens owning real property in the Philippines. Thus, any transfer or conveyance of a unit or an apartment, office or store or other spaces therein, shall include the transfer or conveyance of the undivided interests in the common areas or, in a proper case, the membership or shareholdings in the condominium corporation: Provided, however, that where the common areas in the condominium project are held by owners of separate unit as co-owners thereof, no condominium unit therein shall be conveyed to or transferred to persons other than Filipino citizens or corporation at least 60 percent of the capital stock of which belong to Filipino citizens, except in hereditary succession. Where the common areas in a condominium project are held by a corporation, no transfer or conveyance of a unit shall be valid if the concomitant transfer of the appurtenant membership or stockholding in the corporation will cause the alien interest in such corporation to exceed the limits imposed by law (Section 5, Republic Act No. 4726).
The validity of the ownership of a foreigner of a condominium unit depends on who the designated owners of the common areas in the condominium project are. If the common areas are owned by a condominium corporation, the transfer to foreigners will thus be valid without circumventing the constitutional proscription against foreigners owning real estate in the Philippines; however, if the ownership of the common areas is vest in the owners of separate units as co-owners thereof, no condominium unit thereon shall be conveyed or transferred to persons other than Filipino citizens or corporations (“condominium corporations”) at least 60 percent of the capital stock of which belongs to Filipino citizens, except in cases of hereditary succession.
Thus, it is important for you to know from the developer of the condominium project, the owners of the common areas for your proper guidance. Further, your wife, by virtue of her reacquisition of her Filipino citizenship, can validly purchase real property in the Philippines.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com