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What is a Land Title?

House key on keychain

The famed land title document or better known locally as the geran. An invaluable document for homeowners usually kept in secure folders in a safe place — cupboards, high places in houses, briefcases.

But why is it important?

Contrary to popular assumptions, the land title is not just for legal issues. Consisting of details about the owner of land or property, one would need the land title to own land. This is based on the Malaysian National Land Code 1965. Land ownership in Malaysia is based on the Torrens System Land Title registration and this certificate is given by the Malaysian government through the Land Office or Land Registry.

The reason? Well, it’s to prove that you are the rightful owner of a property or a piece of land. The absence of this document is one of the main reasons why most property claim issues arise.

The characteristic of the Torrens System Land Title registration should be highlighted here. One of it would be the fact that the land ownership is registered under a land title — in the case where the land is alienated by the state. When a person’s name is on the land title, without a doubt, that particular person will become the owner of the land.

No one can deny the ownership status of the person. After the alienation process is done and dusted, the person can transfer the land via a land title to other individuals at the Land Office. In most cases, it would be transferred to children, spouses or siblings.

Contents of the Land Title Document

land title gif

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Just like any other document — birth certificates, death certificates, loan agreements; the land title also has important components that make up the entire document. Here is the crucial information that entails the land title.

The types of land title

The nature of the ownership should be indicated in the land title. There are 2 types of land titles; qualified title and final title.

Qualified Title: Pieces of land without specific measurements

Final Title: Pieces of land with specific and finalized measurements

Besides that, the land title would also entail the categories of titles; master title, individual title and strata title.

Master Title: It is given to owners of the land that have not been divided into specific properties. This happens during the construction and development stage of a property. All properties and divisions that are built under the Master Title are technically owned by the developer of the landowner until the Individual or Strata Title is issued. However, even after the end of the development cycle, common areas and shared facilities such as swimming pools and outdoor areas remain under the Master Title. This makes it the key title and the most important one of them all.

Individual Title: Landed properties fall under this category. This title is issued post completion of the development project.

Strata Title: This title includes condominiums and apartments where individual property units form part of a larger shared development.

This information is necessary to comprehend as the actual property type shouldn’t be different than that in the certificate.

Ownership Number

Similar to the Identification Card (IC) Number, this section of the Land Title would describe the unique number it. Any reference in the Land Office would be made based on this number. The term carried would be ‘No. Hakmilik’.

Size and Location of Property

This applies only to properties under the Final Title. This is due to the fact that only the Final Title would contain details about the exact measurements and dimensions of the property or land.

The details are grouped together with the exact location of the property or land in addition to the indication of the purpose of the land — agriculture, industrial and building. Another important fact would be that the location would be divided into 3 categories namely, the state, the district and the township that it’s located.

Type of Land

There are 2 types of lands — freehold and leasehold. In terms of freehold land, the owner has complete power to transfer his or her ownership to another person. In the context of leasehold land, the property or land belongs solely to the government and would only be valid for 99 years.

Conditions of Ownership

Most of the time, the conditions would include Bumiputera land or reserved Malay lands. These conditions should be explicitly stated in the document, to prevent legal issues regarding the ownership of the land.

Layout of Land

This would include the visual depiction of the layout and the dimensions of the property or land in the form of a cross-section, in terms of square feet. This would determine the type of land title too.

Types of Lands

土地所有权

In Malaysia, there are 3 types of land; leasehold, freehold and Bumiputera reserved lands. A thorough understanding of these lands is necessary in order to prevent unnecessary confusion in arranging legal documents. Prior to buying a property or land, it is indeed important to do thorough research on the status of the land. Here are the different types of lands in Malaysia:

永久产权

Freehold properties are commonly known as properties that last forever. One of the major benefits of this type of property or land is the fact that it could be transferred from one person to another without getting consent from the authorities. However, in some cases where the government would need to use the specific plot of land or area for development purposes, and the rights to obtain the property would still be in their hands.

Albeit that, the property owners affected would get compensation. However, the pricing of the property would be determined by the government valuers. Therefore, leading to a loss for the people affected. Apart from this, a positive side to owning a freehold property is the fact that it has better sales and rental yields.

租赁

By buying a leasehold property, means that the buyer is leasing or renting the property from the government for a span of 99 years. Sometimes, the lease would be granted for 60 years — in rare, exceptional cases. When the grant expires, the property would be returned back to the government.

There would be no compensation for this. A lease extension premium would require a sum of money to be paid to the Land Office depending on the type of property. Doing this would subsequently increase the value of the property.

Bumiputera reserved land

In accordance with the government’s economic policies, the Bumiputera reserved land is only available for the Malays and Bumiputera citizens in the country. Due to the status of these lands, the owners could only transfer the land to a fellow Bumiputera citizen. However, the value of this land is much lower than that of freehold and leasehold land. Therefore, it might not be a good investment to make.

Types of Titles

A Guide on Land Titles 1

The various titles that come with each Land Title document indicate the type of land owned — master titles, individual titles and strata titles.

Master Title

The master title would be the primary title in the development process of any type of property. Prior to the classification on whether a specific property falls under a strata title or individual title, it would be a master title first. Once the developer gets the approval to develop a piece of land, the land office would grant this title to the developer.

Individual Title

This title is used for landed properties. Post-development, the developer would have to apply to the land office to subdivide the master titles into individual titles and strata titles. Usually, it would not take a long time to get this done.

Strata Title

Condominiums, apartments and other high rise buildings fall under this category. The process to obtain this title is the same as getting the individual title. However, the process is not short and might take from 7 to 20 years to issue the title.

The Difference between a Qualified Title and Final Title

Differences

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Qualified Title

Putting it in a simple way, a qualified title is a provisional area of land which is incapable of being subdivided or partitioned. This title would be issued before a Final Title.

However, the proprietor of a qualified land has the ultimate power to lease, charge or transfer the land. The details of the qualified title are under Section 5 of the NLC 1965. The qualified title is divided into 2 types; Hakmilik Sementara Pendaftar (H.S (D)) and Hakmilik Sementara Pejabat Tanah (H.S (M))

The Hakmilik Sementara Pendaftar (H.S (D)) is a country land with less than 4 hectares in area and it is registered in the District Land Office, at the location of the land.

Final Title

The final title would only be released after a survey on the land has been conducted by the State Authority. All decisions to determine what the Final Title will be issued under, will be solely under the discretion of the State Authority.

There are 4 types of Final Title name that might be issued — geran, geran mukim, pajakan negeri, pajakan mukim.

The Geran and Geran Mukim titles are specially designated for freehold land types whereas the Pajakan Negeri and Pajakan Mukim titles are for leasehold lands. The location of the registration of these titles are also important. The Final Title of Geran and Pajakan Negeri would be registered with the State Land Office while the Geran Mukim and Pajakan Mukim titles are registered in the District Land Office.

Issued Document Title

Post determining the form of the Final Title, the State authority would then prepare 2 forms of documents — Register Document of Title and Issue Document of Title. The Register Document of Title means proof of ownership of the land which would be kept at the Land Office. A duplicate copy would be issued to the owner. It would consist of:

  • Type of land (town/village land or country land)
  • The rent (assessment rate)
  • The current and subsequent owners
  • Encumbrances and all the conditions and restrictions in dealing with that particular land.

Meanwhile, the Issue Document of Title would be an ownership title issued to the owner; an individual title.

The Final Title is important as it certifies the ownership of a property. This would prevent any disputes and further strengthen your claim to the property. All the recorded transactions would be there for the owner to refer to at anytime.

Regardless of the timestamp of the issuance of the titles, the survey plans of the alienated land are attached and certified by the Director of Survey and Mapping.

Roles of the Department of Survey and Mapping in Malaysia

A Guide on Land Titles 2

Apart from certifying the survey plans of the alienated lands, the Department of Survey and Mapping in Malaysia would be in charge of advising the government in the field of cadastral survey, mapping and geospatial as well as state and international boundaries.

Besides that, they would also publish topographic, cadastral, thematic and underground utility maps for planning, natural resources management, environmental conservation, development, monitoring and security purposes.

This department would also be in charge of publishing astronomical and astronomy products which include qiblah direction tables, prayers time, rukyah hilal data, hijra calendar and eclipse information and syariah astronomical almanac.

The Land Office Title

These titles are kept at various land offices depending on the location of the property and the land title associated with this is called the Geran Mukim. This is in accordance with Section 5 of the National Land Code, 1965.

Based on Section 5 of the National Land Code, 1965, a Land Office Title means a title evidenced by a Mukim grant or Mukim lease, or by any document of title registered in a Land Office under the provisions of any previous land law.

Registry Title

This applies to townlands, village lands, country lands or any land with more than 4 hectares of size in a capital city. This is in accordance with Section 77(3)(a) of the NLC. Under Section 77(3)(b), it states that the Land Office Title for the country land shall not exceed 4 hectares in area or size.

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