Property Registration

Check for encumbrances by lawyer

Agency: Land Office

The lawyer acting on behalf of both seller and buyer will do a land search. The lawyer will verify that the seller is a rightful owner and is entitled to sell the property. It is common to request a search not only for the property but also for the seller and the buyer (a search in which any property rights registered under the name of the seller is listed). This search is done because there are restrictions on the number of properties that someone can own. If all the information has been computerized, the results can be obtained in one day. In this case, the Lands Department gives a computer printout of the information requested.

It is also common to ask for a survey extract of the property at the Lands Department.

Time and cost: 1 day, BND 8 (BND 8 (BND 3 for searching on the property, buyer, and seller plus BND 5 for survey plan extract))

Conduct a winding-up search at the court

Agency: High Court

The lawyer conducts a search at the High Court to determine whether any of the parties involved in the transaction have had bankruptcy / winding up cases or have any pending cases that could affect the property. Since 2016, this search can be done online. Most of the records since 2005 are available. If the search involves a case before 2005, the lawyer has to request this information physically at the court.

Time and cost: Less than one day (online), BND 2 (BND 1 per name)

The sale and purchase agreement is prepared and signed

Agency: Land Office

The sale and purchase agreement is signed by both parties in the lawyer’s office. The Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) is prepared at the same time.

The cost of this procedure corresponds to the search services provided by the lawyer. If the lawyer drafts the sale and purchase agreement, the fee schedule of the Legal Profession Act (Chapter 132), Advocates and Solicitors (Remuneration) Rules would apply.

Time and cost: 1 day, BND 200 (BND 100 – 300)

Submit application via Lands Department in order to obtain approval for the Memorandum of Transfer by “His Majesty in Council”

Agency: Land Office

Local companies in Brunei cannot own land. However, they can register long term lease interests over lands for a maximum period of 60 years. In this case, the company would register and endorsement to the original title, securing its sublease right. This lease interest is transferrable and can be used as collateral.

Both forms “A” & “B” are completed and submitted to the Land Office. The Land Office will give an appointment to return and sign the MOT, usually within two weeks. Every transfer in Brunei Darussalam requires the approval of “His Majesty in Council” which is a council of officials representing the Sultan. The petition to transfers follows a three-step process. First, the Lands Department will check if all the information has been filled appropriately, and the technicalities of the transactions, issuing a report to the Ministry of Development. The Ministry then review this information and whether the transaction is in line with the land policies of the government, submitting a report to His Majesty in Council if the transaction can proceed.

Upon approval of the MOT, the Land Office will assess the market value of the property and inform the applicant of the amount of stamp duty, the registration fee and land tax. The proof of payment must be provided to the Land Office.

The procedures to register an ownership transfer and a lease interest are the same. However, the time to obtain the approval of His Majesty in Council differs. On average, the approval of a lease interest takes between 8 to 12 months (however, in some cases it can take up to 24 months). Property transfers between local citizens take between 6 to 8 months to receive approval.

Time and cost: 280 days, BND 2 (BND 1 for each form)

Visit the property by the Land Office

Agency: Land Office

An inspector from the Land Office will visit the property with the purpose of determining the actual stamp duty due, and identifying the activities carried out in the building.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Pay stamp duty and sign the MOT at the Land Office

Agency: Land Office

The seller and the buyer will visit the Land Office to sign the Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) and the full payment form in the presence of an officer from the Land Office.

Since there will be no rents paid monthly in the case study assumption, the stamp duty would be calculated on the total consideration of the lease (which equals the property value).

Time and cost: 1 day, BND 13,597 (BND 6 for every BND 1000 of the assessed value of the property + Registration fee of BND 1 + Land Tax BND 150 per quarter acre for commercial land per year (not counted in estimations))

Register property lease at the Land Office

Agency: Land Office

The lease interest is registered at the Land Office and a new endorsement on the title is issued recognizing the lease interest of the company on the property (in case of a property transfer, a new title would be issued).

Time and cost: 15 days, no charge