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  Hard Title Deed is a legal document or certificate that proves the ownership of property. A real estate title deed contains a detailed description of the property and its location and the name of the owner (or owners) of the property. It may also specify any legal rights or easements attached to the property or the ownership of the property.

There are different types of title deeds in Cambodia, ranging from deeds produced at the local level - village or commune - up to national level ownership registration. Different types of title deeds may have differing degrees of security attached to them. Deeds produced at the national level are far more secure than those produced at the local level. Locally-produced deeds are generally acceptable to Cambodian citizens. Foreigners investing in Cambodia, however, will seldom feel secure with less than what's referred to as a 'hard title' registered at the national level.

Cambodia's cadastral system is operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and its main purpose is to establish and record the legal ownership of land. The cadastral system in Cambodia is a title registration system, covering the whole country, that identifies legal land parcels and records public and private ownership rights. It is hoped that the ongoing legal registration of all of Cambodia's land will help to resolve the majority of the country's ownership disputes and therefore reduce instances of displacement and land-grabbing.

In terms of title deeds, one consequence of the ongoing cadastral survey will be a massive improvement in the security attached to ownership documentation. Title deeds, produced in areas that have already been surveyed by the Department of Cadastre and Geography, are regarded as some of the most secure.

LMAP is a similar multi-donor project, also run under the remit of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, that aims to help improve administrative procedures for recording and transferring ownership. The project has operated in a number of provinces resulting in accurate ownership records and title deeds with improved security of tenure. Between the cadastral survey and LMAP, significant areas of the country have already been surveyed, but full registration of all Cambodia's land will probably take some years to complete.

How a foreigner registers the ownership of real estate they buy, depends on which purchase method the foreigner chooses to use.

If a foreigner chooses to form a corporation in order to invest in property, the company name would appear on the title deed and the ownership of the property would be recorded at the national government level. This is a very safe method of recording ownership.

The other method of land ownership involves the use of the name of a Cambodian citizen on the title deed. This deed should also be recorded at the national level, though it is not absolutely necessary. This option requires creating a lease back arrangement. The lease is recorded at the local level and serves to legalize and protect the foreigner's investment.

As with all matters involving purchasing real estate in Cambodia, S.R advises its clients to seek independent legal advice before entering into a sales or purchase transaction. Lease back arrangements can be accomplished without legal services but the client will feel safer with the advice of a good lawyer.


Sihanoukville is located in the south of Cambodia. It is 185 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh in a small Peninsula and Bahia. Beaches are the main feature that attracts national and foreign visitors. A small archipelago is embedded by the Sihanoukville Bahia off its south and west coast. The commercial and international port is located at the north west. The limits of its territory. North and West Koh Kong Province. East Kampot province and south Gulf of Thailand Beaches the line the west contour of the city from north to south are victory Beach, Lamherkey Beach, Koh Pos Beach, Interdependent Beach, Sokha Beach, Serendipity Beach, Ochheurteal Beach and Otres Beach. The most popular beaches are Ochhuerteal, Sokha, Independence and Victory.

Tourists can take water taxis to the nearby islands from diving snorkeling, and game fishing. The peninsula is separated from the central plains of Cambodia by the Damrie mountains, especially the Bok kor The city is also besides the Ream National park(210km2) and it includes the islands of Koh Thmei and Koh Sei Being a rather small province, Sihanoukville has two main urban centers: the port itself and the Prey Nob District, 46 kilometers from Sihanoukville down town to the north. The city is connected to Phnom Penh to Phnom Penh by National Road No.4, to Kampot Province by NR 3 and to Koh Kong Province. There are also sea routes to Koh Kong, Kampot, Vietnam and Thailand from Sihanoukville Port centre, The town centre is located on a hill roughly in the centre of the peninsula and is seen as a district area from tourism promotion. It contains the banks, bus station and market, although the post office is some distance toward the port.



How to buy property in Cambodia

Can foreigners buy Real Estate in Cambodia?

Yes, but with some restrictions…

Legislation passed at the beginning of April 2010 allows foreigners to own property in Cambodian buildings above the ground floor. This works well for apartments in condominiums or even older buildings in cities but not for a villa in a residential area except if you can manage to buy the upper floor.

The following options show how it is possible to buy almost anything.

Buying Real Property in Cambodia

Under Cambodian Land Law, foreign nationals cannot hold a 100% stake in real property within the Kingdom (except for the case above mentioned). However, legal mechanisms and documentation exist that allow foreigners to fully control the purchase, sale and use of real property in which they have invested, and benefit fully from any profits they make.


There are basically 5 Options for buying real estate and details of these follow.


Option 1: Forming a Company with a Cambodian Citizen

The safest method by which foreign nationals can purchase real property within Cambodia is to form a limited company in partnership with a Cambodian citizen. Any real property purchased for investment is then registered in the name of the company. The company must have a minimum 51% Cambodian shareholding. However, careful allocation of shares, and careful drafting of the rights attached to share certificates can ensure the foreigner’s full control of the company and its assets. Additional mortgage, security and Power of Attorney documents can also be created to accompany ownership documentation. Following this procedure ensures security for the foreigner’s investment.

Under this Option, the foreigner is expected to pay 100% of the purchase cost of real property plus any construction costs. If the real property is later sold, 100% of the sale price goes directly to the foreigner. This includes any profit accrued as a result of the property increasing in value. This issue should be detailed carefully in any company and/or sales documentation.

Of course the choice of your partners is of prime importance.


Option 2: Purchase plus long-term Rental

This method allows foreign nationals to purchase real property and register the Title Deed in the name of a Cambodian citizen. The foreigner and the Cambodian then enter into a long-term rental agreement by which the Cambodian citizen leases the property back to the foreigner. Lease periods can last up to 99 years.

The problem with this method, and why it has few takers, is the psychological attachment to freehold ‘ownership’. Most foreign investors expect full ‘ownership’ of something they buy. The principal of renting back property that has already been purchased is an anathema to most foreigners.

However, correct drafting of the terms of the property holding and lease arrangements make this a reasonably secure method of controlling real property in Cambodia. Under this method, the foreigner may sell the property at any time and keep 100% of the revenue from the sale. The Cambodian citizen is not permitted to disagree with or obstruct the sale. The foreigner retains the original copy of the new Title Deed as a security precaution: sale of real property is impossible without the original copy of the Title Deed.

Though the foreigner can sell the property at any time, the Cambodian citizen’s signature or thumbprint is generally required before any sale can take place. A good working relationship between both parties is therefore very important.


Option 3: Registering Real Property with a Cambodian Citizen

This method is very similar to Option 2 but requires 100% trust in the Cambodian citizen.

Foreign nationals have rights, under the Kingdom’s Statutes, to choose a Cambodian in whose name their Title Deed is registered. That is, a foreign national can purchase property and register the purchased property in the name of the Cambodian citizen.

Once the Title Deed is transferred to the Cambodian citizen, the foreigner retains possession of the new Title Deed. This is a security precaution that protects the foreigner’s interests by preventing the Cambodian citizen selling the land or property: sales are impossible without the Title Deed. Transferring the Cambodian’s rights to the foreigner via a Mortgage or Lease Agreement provides additional security for the foreigner’s investment.

Copies of the Title Deed and any Mortgage or Lease Agreements must be registered with the Department of Provincial Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, as well as the appropriate District and central government departments that handle land registry. Most importantly, a copy of the Land Title and any Mortgage or Lease Agreements must be lodged with the Cadastral Land Registry Office.

The Cambodian citizen in whose name the Title is registered does not need to be resident in Cambodia. For example, the Title can be registered with a Cambodian citizen living in the USA or Australia. The Cambodian citizen must be able to prove Cambodian nationality.


Option 4: Marriage to a Cambodian National

Foreign buyers who are married to a Cambodian national can register real property using the name of their wife/husband on the Title Deed. It is also possible for a foreign national married to a Cambodian citizen and resident in the country for a long period to apply for Cambodian citizenship. In the event of citizenship being granted, Cambodian Law holds that land can be registered in the names of both parties. Neither partner can subsequently sell the land or property without mutual agreement.

In the event of divorce or separation, division of the land or property is dependent on the conditions under which divorce or separation takes place, and the decision of any court ruling or arbitration relating to the divorce. It is often source of conflict between the divorcees.


Option 5: Acquisition of Honorary Cambodian Citizenship

A foreigner may be granted honorary Cambodian citizenship if he or she donates a significant sum of money to the Royal Government of Cambodia for the purposes of benefiting the people of Cambodia. Foreigners who have made a special impact or rendered exceptional help to the Kingdom may also be granted this honor in recognition of their expertise or altruism.

One consequence of being granted honorary citizenship is that it becomes possible for a foreign national to acquire a 100% right of ownership over real property purchased within the Kingdom. This arrangement is recognized by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction for the Kingdom of Cambodia, and by the Royal Government.

Honorary citizenship is recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia as a legitimate means of purchasing real property within the Kingdom but it does not affect the foreigner’s original nationality or citizenship in any way.




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