Why register?

1.  Is it compulsory to register all transactions relating to land/property in your system?

De iure, it is not compulsory to register a transaction of land per se: the parties (e.g. the present owner of a house and the purchaser) can opt for a private act, i.e. a non-notarial act and this private act cannot be registered in the land register (only notarial acts can be entered in the land register).

Such a private act validly transfers the ownership to the purchaser, but the legal position of the new owner is rather weak because the transfer of ownership cannot be opposed to third parties, does not bind third parties.

For example, the old owner could sell the house a second time to an innocent purchaser: if the purchaser is indeed innocent, i.e. bona fide, in that he/she indeed ignored the former transfer of ownership and if the second purchaser registers the notarial act in the land register, the second purchaser will become the owner of the house.

De facto, then, almost all real estate transactions are in the form of a notarial act and these notarial acts must—compulsory—be registered in the Land Registry.

2. If not, are there any circumstances under which is it compulsory to do so?

A notarial act must be registered see answer 1.

3. If not, and registration is voluntary, what are the benefits of registration?

A property right that is entered in the land register binds the third parties.

4. What percentage of land/titles is/are registered in your system?

Almost 100%.

5. What types of legal rights in property are capable of being protected by registration?

All property rights are legal (there are no equitable property rights) provided the right is included in the numerus clausus.

6. Are there other rights, legal situations, judicial decisions affecting property rights or owner’s powers capable of registration?

If a claim concerning the transaction arises (e.g. the transaction is voidable), the claim must be entered in the land register (what is called a note in the margin of the entry in the land register), in order to warn third parties. As long as the claim is not entered in the land register, the judge cannot treat the claim.

7. What are the effects of registration of a transfer of ownership?

De iure, the registration has no effect on the transfer of ownership see answer 1, the only effect of registration being that the transfer will bind third parties.

8. What are the effects of registration of a mortgage/charge? What powers or rights are available to the registered owners of charge in order to enforce their security?

A mortgagee who does not enter the mortgage in the land register is not protected at all: he/she cannot claim any priority and will be dealt with as an unprotected creditor.

The enforcement of the security is rather straightforward: the land is seized, then sold and the proceeds of the sale are distributed amongst the creditors. The first ranking mortgagee is payed in full, the second receives what is left of the proceeds, and so on. In practice the non-protected creditor will almost never receive the payment of his/her debt.

9. Is the title guaranteed by the State/Registrar? If so, to what extent and under what circumstances

No, we have a deed registration, not a title registration.

10. What remedies are available to land registry information users who may have relied on register information and suffered loss as a result of reliance on that information?

If the information provided by the Land Registrar was complete (i.e. all the information entered in the land register is communicated), no claim could arise.

If the information provided by the Land Registrar was not complete, a claim (in damages) could arise against the Land Registrar (personal responsibility).

11. How does a party who has suffered loss make a claim for compensation if applicable?

The claim against the Land Registrar is directed to the civil judge.

12. What are the risks involved where property transactions are not registered?

See answer 1.

13. Are there any penalties for non-registration?

The notary must enter the notarial act in the land register; if the notary does not comply with this obligation, he/she is liable.

14. Is cadastral/mapping information included in the title registration process? If so, is it guaranteed? If yes, by whom?

In the notarial act the notary has to refer to the cadastral identification of the plot of land. If doubts should arise concerning for example the correct boundaries of the plot of land, these problems are dealt with by the notary: he/she will contact the cadastre and deal with the issue before drawing up the notarial act.