What to Do When You Lost Your Property Title
A land title is one of the most essential documents that prove property ownership. Two types of this document prove ownership: the Owner's Copy of Title and the copy of the property title kept by the Registry of Deeds. Aside from that, the Original Certificate of Title is issued to owners when the property is first registered. While the Condominium Certificate of Title is issued to owners of condo units. But what if you lose a copy of your property title? How will you prove ownership of your property?
To find out, keep reading as we share the four (4) steps to get a new property title if you lose your copy. The steps below apply to house, lot, or condo properties.
Step 1: Get an Affidavit of Loss.
If you already searched every corner of your house but to no avail, it's time to take legal action to avoid problems in the future. The first step is to secure an Affidavit of Loss, made by a lawyer, and must be notarized. When requesting this document, tell your lawyer how you lost your property title. There are many reasons why many property owner's titles went missing.
Some owners misplaced it, while others lost their property title due to theft, fire, flood, and other similar events. Improper storage of fragile property titles can also lead to termite destruction. Whatever your case, the only way to get a new property title is via a court process. But you should obtain an Affidavit of Loss before going through the Reissuance of Title process.
Step 2: Obtain a Certified True Copy of Title with lost title annotation.
After obtaining an Affidavit of Loss, the next step is to get a Certified True Copy of Title with lost title annotation. To obtain this document, you should present the Affidavit of Loss made by your lawyer to the Registry of Deeds, located at the city or municipal hall. The Registry of Deeds will annotate or indicate at the back of the original title regarding the loss of your title.
Step 3: Attend the court hearing.
As stated earlier, the court process is the only way to secure a new property title. There are two legal remedies to get a copy of the title. The Petition for Reissuance is the solution if your property title was destroyed or damaged due to natural calamities, such as flood and fire. On the contrary, the Petition for Reissuance is the applicable solution if your property title was destroyed or lost due to other reasons.
To attend a court hearing, you and your lawyer should file a petition for Reissuance or Reconstitution of Title. In addition, you'll need the Certified True Copy of the Title with an annotation of the "lost title," which you secured from the Registry of Deeds. During the court hearing, you should also prove to the judge, in good faith, that your property title is really missing. If successful, you can proceed with the 4th step.
Step 4: Bring the court order to the Registry of Deeds.
Finally, you can secure a new property title by presenting the court order to the Registry of Deeds. The court order is a formal document stating the judge's official judgment to grant you a new property title. After presenting the court order to the Registry of Deeds, you can obtain a new owner's duplicate copy of the property title.
But do note that there are requirements you must comply with when you lose your property title. Also, you should pay the applicable fees before obtaining a new copy of your property title, which I'll discuss in my next article. Remember, replacing a lost property title as soon as possible is vital to avoid fraudulent claims and easy transfer.
4 Ways to Detect Fake Property Title
Nowadays, many wicked-minded and dubious people will do anything for money. That's why it is essential to be cautious, especially when buying a property. Whether it's a small plot of land or a house and lot, purchasing a property costs significant amounts of money. However, scheming people have plenty of ways to trick and fool property buyers. Therefore, doing extensive research on how to detect a fake property title is necessary to avoid being scammed.
But how can you tell if a property title is real or fake?
To find out, read on as we share four (4) ways to detect a fake property title and ensure your hard-earned money and investment won't go to waste.
1. Scan the QR code
One of the easiest ways to detect a fake property title is by scanning the QR code. The new version of the land title is called eTitle. It's blue and has a QR code in the lower right corner. When you scan the QR code using your smartphone, the information of the eTitle will appear, such as the title number, location, technical description, and other details. But remember, the information that appears on the QR code should match the property title to ensure its authenticity.
2. Check the Paper
Another way to spot a fake property title is by checking the paper material. A legit and valid property title uses a type of paper that looks similar to bank cheques, called check stock paper. When you inspect the property title, you will see fibers on the paper material. Usually, there are also colored dots on the property title paper. These signs indicate that the property title is authentic.
Apart from that, a legit property title has Intaglio on the sides, a printmaking technique with an image created by incising into a surface. It's the same technique applied to paper bills. An authentic property title also has a watermark, like the Land Registration Authority (LRA) logo. To check if the logo of LRA is visible, hold the property title to the light. The same way you check paper bills using light.
3. Check the Serial Numbers
You can also verify the authenticity of a property title by checking the serial numbers in the upper left corner. There's also another serial number on the lower right corner of the property title. In addition, it has a barcode that feels like a dry seal when you touch it. Both serial numbers should also match to ensure the property title's authenticity.
4. Bring the Title to the Registry of Deeds (RD)
If you're still unsure or doubting the property title's authenticity, the best solution is to bring it to RD. This is the most effective way to detect fake property titles. If you're buying a property, visit RD and present a copy of the title. Ask the seller for a copy of the property title and let RD check if it's authentic.
The officer in charge of RD will compare the original title they have to the owner's duplicate copy you will present. Both documents should be identical, and there shouldn't be any difference, even in letters capitalization. Therefore, letting RD check the document's authenticity is the most accurate way to confirm whether a property title is real or fake.