Brief Guide for Purchasing Land in Bangladesh
Every person, who has ownership rights of immovable property and is recorded as such in records of rights or other public documents in which record of ownership is entered or maintained, is considered, as legal owner of immovable property and is entitled to transfer such property, either wholly or in part. Any person though not the owner of immovable property but legally authorized by its owner to transfer the same is also competent to transfer such property. Possessor of immovable property may claim ownership of the property however mere possession of an immovable property does not mean that the person is the real owner of the property. Title of immovable property, as you would appreciate, may be acquired either through purchase, long-term lease, gift or by way of inheritance etc. In order to ascertain the real owner in possession who can sale the property, it is particularly necessary to examine the records of rights or other public documents in which record of ownership is entered or maintained.
Confirm the record of rights from the Land Office
Land administration system in Bangladesh separates records of ownership and records of revenue as such. We have Land Records Offices for land records, surveys, publication and maintenance of records under the directorate of land records and survey, Ministry of Land. Bangladesh also has Land Revenue Offices under Ministry of Land. There are 11 administrative offices in each upazila (sub district). There are 64 districts in Bangladesh but only 61 of them have registration facility.
Three hill districts do not have registration centers. In Dhaka, the district land registration office has 13 Sub-registrar offices under the Ministry of Law.
Check & Verify Bia Deeds, Khatiayans & Mutation of the property in favour of the Seller
If the present Seller obtained the land through Purchase, the present purchaser should first see all such Sale Deeds (Bia Deed) to ascertain chain of ownership and it is desirable that at least 25 years chain of ownership should be clearly determined.
The second step is to seek documents in the form of Khatain from the Seller. The purchaser should check the Khatiayan records (C.S., S.A. R.S., B.S./City Jarip) as supplied by the seller and needs to verify through the lawyers whether documents supplied establishes ownership (either through purchase or inheritance) in favour of the seller. It is to be noted that draft/Khosra Khatiyan supplied by the seller is not eligible to verify the record and purchaser should ask for copies of certified/printed Khatiyan.
Purchaser also should verify the Khatiyan with the records at the Deputy Collectors Office (there has been long tradition of fabrication of Khatiayans by prospective sellers). Specific importance should be given to the last two Khatiyan of the concerned property.
Most importantly, the Purchaser should conduct physical survey of the land. This will also provide the current conditions and verify the possession of the land.
Verification of payment of Ground Rate of the Property
Purchaser should also ask the Seller to furnish record of payment of updated Ground Rent for the prospective land. It is to be noted here that if the Ground Rate is not clear, the sub registrar’s office may refuse to register the property in favour of the seller.
Multiple Sellers & Attorney
In case of land is recorded in the name of the predecessor of the seller, Warishan certificate, issued by the representative of the local government in favour of the sellers has to be checked.
Also, if the land is sold by some of the successors (Not all), Registered Deed of Partition/Bia Deed has to be checked.
In case the land is sold by authorized attorney, Registered Power of Attorney is required.
Obtain the non-encumbrance certificate from the relevant sub-registry office
The buyer should check the legal status of the land (mortgaged or leased or ownership) at the relevant Sub-registry office. From January 2012 onwards, both Sub-registry and Land Revenue Offices provide non-encumbrance certificates. Sometimes land report is required.
A land report gives an idea about the current status and ownership of the land that may include chain of ownership, land tax, land record, registry status etc, whereas a non-encumbrance certificate is used in property transactions as an evidence of entitlement of the property.
Prepare deed of transfer and pay stamp duty
A lawyer may prepare the transfer deed, but it can also be prepared by the parties themselves. The deed must be prepared in stamped paper that should cost 3% of the property value to get it. This represents the stamp duty. Also, any Baina Deed executed between seller & purchaser needs to be registered as well.
Pay capital gains tax, registration fee, VAT and other taxes at a designated bank
Registration fee is payable to the bank in favour of the sub-registry office and the receipt is to be presented at the moment of applying for registration.
The buyer has to pay the local government tax to the concerned city corporation or municipality offices. Furthermore, a capital gains tax (CGT) and a VAT of 1.5% (applicable only for municipal corporation area payable by private housing and flat developers and commercial businesses) have to be paid at this stage. Capital gains tax is not applicable in rural areas for agriculture.
Apply for registration at the relevant Sub-registry
At this stage, the buyer may apply for registration at the concerned Sub-Registry Office, presenting the receipts of payment of the registration and other fees. A certified registration document is obtained within a week for the buyer’s record. The original sale deed/certificate requires about six months to be obtained.
Register the change in ownership at the Land Revenue Office
The change of ownership must be registered in the Land Revenue Office. The property is recorded under the name of the new owner, who is responsible for paying the land taxes from the day the property is transferred. An application is required to be made to the concerned AC with particulars of the property. The assistant commissioner will forward the same to the concerned Tahsil office who are responsible for conducting the relevant survey and providing a report to assistant commissioner of land. Upon satisfaction of the report, AC Land will issue Mutation Khatiyan in the name of the new owner along with a Duplicate Carbon Receipt (DCR). In the application form the applicant must clearly mention the name and address of the applicant and the transferor, detail description of the land and its surrounding boundary, size, nature and identification of the land, registered deed number and date of such registration. Moreover, the applicant ought to affix copy of main deed, via deed, copy of Khatiyan, receipt of payment of land development tax, proof of means to acquire the ownership i.e partition deed, copy of the decree or judgment obtained from competent court (if any), passport size photograph of the applicant etc. with the application. It is noteworthy to state that no middleman or extra money is necessary to do mutation of land. However, now 60 days is fixed to finish the whole process of mutation in metropolitan area and 45 days for any other region.
If the AC (Land) refuses to mutate the name of the applicant for default of document or for any other reason whatsoever, the aggrieved applicant can apply to the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) within 30 days from the date of such refusal. However, anyone can apply further to the Additional Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) within next 30 days against the impugned decision of the Additional Deputy Commissioner. Finally the complainant has another forum to appeal to Land Appeal Board within 90 days against an impugned order given by its immediate inferior authority. A person can also file a request for review within 30 days from the date of first refusal, however in that circumstances, right of appeal is lost.
Recording the Land in latest survey (B.S./City jarip)
The land purchased should be recorded, if possible, under the latest survey (i, e. B.S. Jarip or City Jarip) if the said surveys are being conducted in the locality the land is situated in the name of the present owner.
Additional requirements for Specific kind of land/s (Waqf, Lease, Khas Land)
1. In case of Waqf property, prior permission of Waqf Administrator is mandatory to transfer or mortgage the property, also the Sale Deed has to be executed by the authorized Mutawalli.
2. In case of Lease property from RAJUK/CDA (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) every time the property is transferred, permission from Ministry of Housing & Public Works is required.
3. In case of Khas land, the property can not be sold or mortgaged. This matter must be inquired before purchasing of any kind of land whether the land is Khas land or not.
4. In case of land of Shikosthi Jorip (river eroded Land) it is very difficult to get mutation of that specific land. So, it is to be inquired whether the land is under Shikosthi Jorip or not.
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