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How to tackle property frauds with titling

Last updated on: March 31, 2011 12:43 IST

How to tackle property frauds with titling

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Nivedita Mookerji in New Delhi

In the next five years, buying property could become a much less arduous task. A property titling law, which is in the final stages of making for Delhi, is going to reduce the headache for home buyers significantly.

Other states are also working on similar property title legislation. And, the national coverage is being targeted within five years.

Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta said that the state government had given its final comments, and the last stage of consultation was on with the Ministries of Law, Land Resources, Urban Development, and Home Affairs, before introducing the draft bill in the Delhi Assembly.

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Enactment of the property titling legislation was expected within a year in the Delhi Assembly, Mehta said.

The law will apply to all entities - land, flats, private houses, residential property, commercial property, industrial property and institutions.

This law is meant to check fraudulent property ownership claims, as for the first-time records will be accessible to everyone online in a centralised format. It aims to make property record-keeping both simple and foolproof.

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At present, properties are registered, but details to identify real owners are hard to come by, thereby leading to litigation on titles. Often, buyers are advised to hire lawyers to ensure that the property titles are in place.

The law is already operational in Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan is yet another state, which is following up on the property titling law, and has introduced the 'Guaranteed Land Title' Law, which provides a conclusive proof of title to ownership.

"Delhi should be among the top few states to have a law on property titling," said Rajesh Goyal, managing director of the RG group, a real estate developer.

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R R Singh, director general, National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco), listed out the benefits of the proposed titling law.

"The law will help the owners of property once there's clarity on title, as all records will be available on the net."

This move would infuse confidence in property owners, he said. Singh also pointed out that all districts of India would have e-property titling within the next five years.

"The government is committed towards this goal," he added.

First, each and every property would be surveyed on road, along with a review of its history, said Goyal. Then, every property would be given a unique number, which would be accessible in an electronic format at a centralised point.

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The entire hierarchy of the property (who's the original owner and how the property changed hands over the years) would be available online against that unique number.

"One of the provisions in the titling law is that it will apply to different areas of Delhi in a manner which the government decides," said Delhi's chief secretary. Property titling has a heritage planning angle, too.

Mehta said this step would also help the government preserve havelis and old buildings.

As for preventing corruption in the real estate sector, an issue referred to by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently, Mehta said, "I think titling is key in this area. Unless there is accurate titling, there will always be people who fudge records."

 



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