Property and Land

With the implementation of the Land Law in 2001, property rights in Cambodia are more certain and greatly improved.

Property and LandThe conveyancing process is becoming more regularized with the development of a national registration system, but due diligence is still a crucial factor in any land transaction. A transfer tax of 4% applies on all land transfers. Land in Cambodia is categorized as either private and public, with some exceptions for monastery and indigenous lands. The Constitution only permits Cambodian nationals to own land. However, foreign investors may own up to 49% of a Cambodian land holding company in which at least 51% of the shares are held by Cambodians.

In addition to participation in a Cambodian land holding company, foreign investors are freely able to lease land on a short term or long term basis. A short term lease is for a definite period of time and for a maximum of 15 years. Long term leases, defined as leases with a duration of 15 years or more, are the form typically used by investors given that it constitutes a right in rem which can be assigned for valuable consideration or transferred by succession. The most common practice is to register 70- year leases which are renewable on the same terms and conditions.

State owned property can also be conceded to foreign investors for a maximum period of 99 years. The concessionaire is granted rights similar to a long term lessee except that the land must be used for specific agreed upon purposes.

In addition, with the passage of laws providing ownership rights in apartment buildings in 2010, and the issuance of a sub-decree on foreign ownership, foreigners can now own apartments in Cambodia not exceeding 70 percent of any one apartment building.

It is possible to mortgage land in Cambodia. Both foreign and national lenders routinely take mortgages over land or property as security for loans. These mortgages must be registered with the Land Cadastral Office. Whether purchasing, leasing, developing or mortgaging land in Cambodia, Sciaroni and Associates will help the investor avoid the serious pitfalls that can result from a lack of proper procedure or due diligence.




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