How To Check If Certificate Of Land Title Is Fake
The first and faster way to check if the transfer certificate of title is fake or not is to look at the identifying marks. These are the physical qualities that make them distinct.
Here are the things you should look for:
1. The texture is similar to that of a bank check
2. It has a faint watermark that says “LRA“
3. If it’s an old title, the color of the paper is light yellow.
4. If it’s an e-Title, the color should be pale straw.
5. Tiny fibers and dots should be noticeable
6. And if you could use a UV light, these fibers should fluoresce or shine slightly when subjected to UV light.
Below are the items you should look for in the contents of the title you are checking:
1. If it’s an Original Certificate of Title (OCT), it should indicate “Judicial Form No. 108-D” at the top.
2. If it’s a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), it should indicate “Judicial Form No. 109-D“
3. The serial number label (SN No.) should be in red color, while the digits should be in black for the owner’s duplicate.
4. The last two digits of the page number in the upper right hand side should correspond to the last two digits of the TCT number.
5. The red/blue border should be slightly embossed and not flatly printed.
6. For e-Titles, all entries should be computer encoded and printed, unlike the old versions which were manually type-written
7. The seal on the lower left hand side should be dark red and does not blot when a little water check is done.
For Judicial OCT, it should have 2 signatures present – the Administrator and the Registrar; while For Judicial TCT, only the signature of the Registrar is present.
Now considering that scammers today know that and are already using high tech materials and are aware of these paper checks and have leveled up, you might need to do the 2nd check which is more of a due diligence.
First is ask for a valid ID of the seller to check if the person claiming ownership of the property is really the person mentioned as registered owner.
Check for liens and encumbrances. A lien is an encumbrance or a legal liability on real property that does not prohibit transfer of the title, but instead, reduces its value.
Make sure real estate taxes have been paid. Check with the Assessor’s Office to see if the real estate taxes have been paid up. If, for instance, there are arrears or back taxes, coordinate with the landowner on how you can settle the amount – which at this point should already be part of the property price. You will need a notarized document for the agreement on the payment of back taxes.
Double check the title’s technical description. Ask permission from the land owner to have the land surveyed by a Geodetic Engineer. This is to determine if the land area specified in the title matches the actual land area surveyed.
Now here are the 5 offices where you can verify authenticity of property titles
1. Registry of Deeds
The most widely known stop for verifying the title of a real property is the registry of deeds. Your local Registry of Deeds is the public repository of “Titles” for titled and untitled real properties in your city or municipality.
2. Municipal or City Assessor’s & Treasurer’s Offices
The Assessor’s office is where you’ll find the accurate technical description of the property. Requisition for vicinity map of the subject property for BIR clearance or DAR clearance purposes can be done in this office.
3. Then we have the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) or now known as DHSUD or Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development
This is where to seek consultation and submit complaints specifically for condominium and subdivision developments. Before any subdivision or condominium project can start selling, advertising or offering a project, permits and approvals should be secured first from HLURB.
4. The fourth one is the Land Registration Authority (LRA)
LRA is the agency of the government which is responsible for issuing decrees of registration, certificates of title and register documents, awards and patents.
They are the repository of all titles in the Philippines. The LRA is a good place to do further back tracing of the property history.
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