Why do you need to do a title search before purchasing a property?

Purchasing a property can be for a building a house or for any commercial purpose,You have to be sure that the money invested in the property is  safe.Because if someone else claim the ownership of that  property in a later stage you will have to spend lots of time & money to get the ownership back.Because of that searching the title or finding the  real owner of the property is very important.With a land title search you can find following.

    1. To find the state of the title in regard to such land  & whether any prior deeds affecting any interest in such land has been registered.
    2. All relevant details of such movable property has to be looked into understand the chain of title.(Pedigree)
    3. To find whether the title of the land is clear & whether the title has devolved systematically throughout the other deeds affecting the same land.

Before searching the relevant documents at the land registry you have to identify property by comparing with deeds & relevant plans as by looking at the deed previous owners could be identified.If the property is possessed by prescriptive title the ownership is not clear as the actual owner could claim his rights later.If the property is entitled by deed of transfer or deed of gift or partition action or any court order the relevant entries at the land registry shall be searched.

What are the things that seller has to obtain from the local authority?

Relevant certificates & other information should be obtained from the relevant municipal council, urban council or Pradeshiya Sabha  where the land is situated.

It should be identified whether the areas are residential, industrial or common according to the purpose of purchasing of the property & the rules & regulations relevant to those areas.

Following certificates could be obtained from the local authority.

  1. Non vesting Certificate

 A local body has the authority to vest a property within their jurisdiction for non-payment of land tax.

  1. Street Line Certificate

Any property could be acquired by the local authority or the Road Development Authority to make a road or to expand an existing public road. If any property or part of the property is not acquired for Road Development Authority, Street Line certificate is issued by the Local Authority.

  1. Certificate of Conformity

Local authority issue this to certify that a building constructed on a particular land according to the approved plan & that is suitable to be occupied. Some factors need to be considered here.

  • Provision of sufficient Sunlight & ventilation to the building.
  • Construction of the floor in accordance with the plan.
  • Whether the walls are plastered.
  • Roofing is in accordance with the plan.
  • Provisions of sanitary facilities to the building
  1. Certificate of ownership

The payments of rates & taxes of the property should be made in the name of the person who is registered as the owner. When the ownership of the property changes the name of the new owner has to be entered in the Assessment & Tax list of the local authority.


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mm About the Author / Dinushka Medagoda

A Lawyer and Human Resource professional . He has been involved in Commercial, Customs Litigation, Criminal Appeals and Corporate Consultancy.

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