Court can compel seller to surrender land title

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My mother bought a land evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale. The land is not yet registered in my mother’s name because the owner refuses to give us the title of the land. Is the title in her possession necessary for the issuance of a new title in my mother’s name?
Mr. Hernando

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Dear Mr. Hernando,
A deed of absolute sale is an instrument evidencing the conveyance of the property from the original owner to the buyer. By virtue of the sale, your mother shall have the right to have the property she bought registered in her name. To be able to do so, she needs to present for registration the instrument evidencing the sale together with the owner’s duplicate certificate of title which is in the name of the seller. Section 53 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree provides that no voluntary instrument shall be registered by the Registry of Deeds unless the owner’s duplicate certificate is presented with such instrument, except in cases expressly provided for in this decree or upon order of the court, for cause shown. The production of the owner’s duplicate certificate shall be conclusive authority from the registered owner to the Register of Deeds to enter a new certificate or to make a memorandum of registration in accordance with such instrument, and the new certificate or memorandum shall be binding upon the registered owner and upon all persons claiming under him, in favor of every purchaser for value and in good faith.

However, since the seller is unlawfully withholding the owner’s duplicate certificate and as a result, your mother was unable to obtain a new transfer certificate of title registered in her name, she may file a petition before our court to compel the seller or any person possessing the certificate of title of the land she bought, to surrender the same before the Register of Deeds. After hearing, the court may order the registered owner or any person withholding the duplicate certificate to surrender the same, and direct the entry of a new certificate or memorandum upon such surrender. If the person withholding the certificate is not amenable to the process of the court, or if for any reason the outstanding owner’s duplicate certificate cannot be delivered, the court may order the annulment of the same as well as the issuance of a new certificate of title in lieu thereof. The new certificate and all duplicates shall contain a memorandum of the annulment of the outstanding duplicate (Section 107, PD No. 1529).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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1 Comment

  1. dear pao..gud day! i bought a house and lot with clean titles and documents but the owners name is not real.She only borrows the name to her sister.She uses her sisters name in all her documents and married a foreigner. Does it take a problem with me when i bought her property registered in her sister name?she bought the birth certificate of her sister and that note her name is her sister’s name..