What are the Property Buying and Selling Laws in Pakistan?
Buying property is considered one of the safest and most lucrative investments in Pakistan – and for a good reason. Real estate is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and is worth an estimated $1.5 trillion. Moreover, it contributes nearly 3% to the GDP. However, despite the grand scope and prospects of the heavily-invested sector, many homebuyers are not aware of the property laws in Pakistan.
The buying and selling of real estate in Pakistan are governed by certain laws that both individuals and organizations need to abide by when making any transactions. However, before we delve into different regulations and acts, let’s quickly discuss the definition of property and what it comprises.
WHAT IS PROPERTY?
There is a good chance you have heard people using the terms ‘land’ and ‘property’ synonymously. While it might make sense in certain cases, using these terms interchangeably is usually not the right approach, mainly because property and land are defined differently in the law.
As per the Guide on Land and Property Rights in Pakistan published by UN-Habitat, property generally refers to any ‘tangible or intangible asset that can be possessed or vested in an individual.’ The term ‘tangible’ means the property exists physically such as land, whereas the term ‘intangible’ refers to patents and intellectual property that does not exist physically.
Property in Pakistan is further divided into two categories:
It mainly refers to real estate, including plots, houses, apartments, buildings, farmhouses, and more. All structures integrated with or affixed to the land, including wells and rights of ways, also fall under the same category.
It refers to assets that can be physically moved from one place to another. For example, your vehicle, jewelry, cash, shares, and valuable goods are all moveable properties. In Pakistan, crops, trees, grass, and fruits that have grown or are growing on a piece of land are also included in this category.
PROPERTY LAWS IN PAKISTAN
There are four main laws that govern the selling and buying of real estate in Pakistan.
REGISTRATION ACT 1908
Registration Act 1908 deals with the registration of documents related to immovable properties with the registrar of assurances. It enables prospective buyers to check the registration details of a residential or commercial property before making a purchase. This regulation also encompasses all the necessary instructions for the registration of properties, explained in great detail in fifteen sections.
Furthermore, the act describes where the properties can be registered, the time of presentation of the documents, and the place of presenting the documents. To put it simply, Registration Act 1908 is a comprehensive law that guides buyers and sellers on all matters of real estate registration in Pakistan without any ambiguity.
Please note that all provinces have enacted this law with minor modifications.
STAMP ACT 1899
Enacted by the British-Indian government in 1899, the Stamp Act defines and regulates the instruments that can be charged with duty. The act is still applicable in Pakistan as it directly affects the revenue of the government. It mentions in detail the different stamps used in buying and selling property in Pakistan.
Stamp Act 1899 directs buyers and sellers to pay a certain amount to the government in lieu of the stamp papers used to make the legal agreements of real estate transactions. The stamp rates might change due to the impact of inflation and federal or provincial policies, but the overall regulation instructs individuals to legally validate their real estate investment and sale through the use of stamps.
LAND REVENUE ACT 1967
The Land Revenue Act of 1967 also gives each province its own set of legislation to govern the records of property rights and changes. It also lays out the complete structure and hierarchy of the land and revenue department in Pakistan.
The regulation, which is one of the most important property laws in Pakistan, discusses the various powers allotted to the different land and revenue department offices as well as their due jurisdictions. It also instructs on the collection of land revenue and covers key issues like conducting surveys, marking boundaries, partitions, and arbitrations.
TRANSFER OF PROPERTY ACT 1882
As the name suggests, the Transfer of Property Act 1882 discusses the process of transferring property in Pakistan. Therefore, this regulation has a direct impact on the buying and selling of real estate in the country.
It also refrains individuals and other entities from transferring immovable property to another person when they are not legally entitled to do so, thus saving the buyer from incurring any losses on disputed land, shop, or residential unit. Furthermore, the Transfer of Property Act 1882 sheds light on the persons eligible to transfer the property, the operation of transfer, oral transfer, and what types of properties can be transferred.
This brings us to the end of our guide on property buying and selling laws in Pakistan. If you are seeking more information on the topic, please feel free to check out the property rights of women and the property inheritance laws in the country.