Written by Leahona
Philippine Real Estate Laws
- Only Filipino citizens and corporations (at least 60% Philippine-owned) are entitled to acquire land in the Philippines .
- Non-Filipinos can acquire a Philippine real estate property if he/she has a Filipino partner. Either both partners share the property with equal rights, or the partner owns 51% or more and the remainder is owned by the non-Filipino partner.
- Non-Filipinos can likewise acquire Philippine real estate if he/she has a Filipino spouse who can make the purchase.
- Special visas are available for non-Filipinos who want complete and total control of a Philippine real estate property like condominiums and townhouse units. Qualifications for this visa are as follows:
- Applicant must be at least 35 years old.
- Applicant should meet the bank deposit requirements which can be withdrawn at a later date for your investments.
- Owning of houses or buildings is possible as long as the non-Filipino does not own the land on which the house is built. The land can be leased by the foreigner on a long term contract, and the house can be legally his.
- As an exception to this rule, a foreign acquisition of a Philippine real estate is allowed in the following cases:
- Acquisition before the implementation of the 1935 constitution.
- Acquisition through hereditary succession if the foreign acquire is a legal or natural heir. This simply means that when the non-Filipino is married to a Filipino citizen and the spouse dies, the non-Filipino as the natural heir will become the legal owner of the property. The same is true for the children. Every natural child (legitimate or illegitimate) can inherit the property of his/her Filipino father/mother even if he/she does not any Filipino citizenship.
- Purchase of not more than 40% interest in a condominium project.
- Purchase by a former natural-born Filipino citizen subject to the limitations prescribed by law.
- Filipinos who are married to aliens who retain their Filipino citizenship, unless by their act or omission, they have renounced their Filipino citizenship.
- Dual citizenship means having two citizenships and passports from two different countries. Dual citizenship allows the citizenship holder full rights of possession of Philippine real property. This is a new law and it is still unclear as to the procedures involved to implement it. Dual citizenship is now available for the following:
- Former Filipino citizens born in the Philippines , who have immigrated to another country and obtained citizenship of that country.
- A foreign spouse married to a Filipino citizen.
Former Filipino Citizens
- Former natural-born Filipino citizens, a.k.a. "balikbayans", are entitled to own a maximum of 1,000 square meters of residential land and one hectare of agricultural or farm land.
- For business purposes, a maximum of 5,000 square meters of urban land or three hectares of rural land is allowed by law. In the case of married couples, one or both of them may avail of the privilege provided that if both avail, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum.
- In the case of a transferee already owning an urban or rural land for business or other purposes, he/she shall still be entitled to be a transferee provided that when added to those already owned by him/her shall not exceed the maximum.
Non-Filipino Married to a Filipino Citizen
- If holding title as an individual, a typical situation would be that a foreigner married to a Filipino citizen would hold title in the Filipino spouse's name. The foreign spouse's name cannot be on the Title but can be on the contract to buy the property. In the event of death of the Filipino spouse, the foreign spouse is allowed a reasonable amount of time to dispose of the property and collect the proceeds or the property will pass to any Filipino heirs and or relatives.
Foreign Ownership as a Philippine Corporation
- Foreign nationals or corporations may completely own a condominium or townhouse. To take ownership of a private land, residential house and lot, and commercial building and lot, foreign nationals or corporations should form a Philippine corporation. The corporation is to be 40% foreign-owned (maximum) and 60% Filipino-owned (minimum), and with at least five  incorporators. Upon incorporation, a main bank account should be tied to it. A foreign national may be the sole person in the bank account, allowing him/her total control over the funds derived from the corporation and the income or sale of the asset or property.
Foreign Leasing of Philippine Real Estate Property
- A foreign national and or corporation may enter into a lease agreement with Filipino landowners for an initial period of up to 50 years, and renewable for another 25 years.
Note: This document is for information purposes only. The user assumes all risks for its use.Myphilippinelifestyles.com assumes no responsibility for such use.