Some 18 years ago, my sister sold her piece of land to our parents. There was only a deed of sale but the land title was not transferred to my parents. Now, our parents wanted to sell that particular land. Will it still be possible to sell the land without title but with deed of sale? Will our parents encounter any problem?
Ownership and other real rights over property are acquired and transmitted by law, by donation, by testate and intestate succession, and in consequence of certain contracts, by tradition (Article 712, Civil Code). A contract of sale is one of the modes of transferring ownership. By contract of sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay thereof a price certain in money or its equivalent. (Article 1458, Ibid.) Ownership, however, is not transferred by contract merely but by tradition or delivery. Contracts on-ly constitute titles or rights to the transfer or acquisition of ownership, while delivery or tradition is the mode of accomplishing the same (Jose B. Anzar v. Rafael Yapdiangco and Teodoro Santos, G.R. No. L-18536, March 31, 1965). On the other hand, registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. Registration under the Torrens System was not established as a means for the acquisition of title to private land. It is intended merely to confirm and register the title that one may already have (Re-public of the Philippines v. The Court of Appeals and Spouses Mario B. Lapiña and Flor De Vega, G.R. No. 108998, August 24, 1994).
You stated that your sister sold a property to your parents through sale. But the title to the property was not transferred to them after the sale. Based on the foregoing, we don’t see any problem if your parents decide to sell the property even if the title to the same was not transferred to their names. As mentioned, it is the execution of contract of sale, coupled with delivery, which transfers owner-ship, not registration thereof. The Registrar of Deeds of the province where the property is located may, however, require submission of additional documents because the title to the property is still in the name of your sister.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 firstname.lastname@example.org