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Basics of Land Documents

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Buying land in Kodai , as much as it is a dream come true, could also end up as a nightmare ! If you do your basic checks as listed below, you could be a proud and happy owner of a piece of land in the breathtaking hills of Kodaikanal.

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Owning land in Kodai involves 3 major steps 1) Registering the land/sale deed, 2) Transfer of ownership through relevant documents 3) Regularizing continued ownership of land

Let us look at each step in detail:

1) Registering the land/sale deed

Registration is basically an official record of the buying of land by one party (buyer) from another party (seller). This happens at the registration office through a sale deed. A buyer needs to do a thorough investigation of the land before buying. This involves legal opinion of the land by a reputed lawyer. This also includes getting the latest  "Encumbrance Certificate" dating back to 13 to 30 years. The EC ("Encumbrance Certificate") would list out all transactions involving the land till date. Any loans or collateral or legal issues regarding the land would be listed. Make sure the EC is clean and make sure your lawyer looks back 30 years into the EC. The buyer also needs to make sure that the person selling the land owns the patta unless the land is being sold by an agent who has a "power of attorney". If not, you need to make sure the seller gets the patta transferred in his name before you buy the land from him. It also a good idea to check the 'A' register at the VAO's office to confirm that the name of the owner of the land on the A-register matches the seller's name on the sale deed.

An "A register" is a record of the land held at the VAO's office (Village Adminstrative Officer). A register is the government record that contains all the survey numbers and its subdivisions with their classification of land and extent in acres or hectares. It has details on the property such as it's classification, tax assessment, owner's name, etc.

When you buy land, you want to confirm if the details in the sale deed are authentic. Apart from checking the FMB sketch, parent docs, etc. it's important you verify ownership and land details in the A register extract.

'A' register extract can be got at the VAO's office when you hand over the survey number for the land

Some of the pertinent details are

  • Classification - Specifies if the land is a nanjai, punjai or a manavari. This essentially says if the land is a wet or dry land and how it can be irrigated, meaning through canals (nanjai) or rain (punjai). This is an important detail for non-Indian or dual-citizen property buyers in India, as they cannot buy agriculture land.

  • Area specs - Specifies the area of the land in hectares.

  • Tax - Lists the tax assessment for the land. It's usually a ridiculously low price, compared to what you have to pay in other countries.

  • Owner info - Lists the property owners name. Pay attention to this piece of information. You want the owner's name match the sale deed doc. If this property is owned by the government (e.g. road, acquired land, etc.), it'll say so.

Another important document you check at the VAO's office is the FMB sketch (Field Measurement Book) which is used to verify land measurement details such as survey area, plot area, boundary details, etc

2) Transfer of ownership through relevant documents

This is basically a proof that not only has the buyer bought the land but also owns it. The first step after registration is to transfer the patta to the buyer's name. Once done, check to confirm that your name (buyer) has been updated in the "A" Register.While the patta is a proof of ownership, it does not provide too many details of the exact nature of the holding except that it is a piece of land. A more conclusive evidence of ownership is provided by the chitta and adangal documents. You need go to the office of the VAO and furnish a copy of the updated 'A'-Register (with the buyer's name updated) and get the latest copy of the Chitta and Adangal. These copies will tell you if the previous owner paid the taxes or if anything is due and who are the tenants who cultivated the land (in Adangal) . Ask for this if you dont see it.

Chitta - This document will be with VAO (Village Administrator Officer), and also a copy in taluka office. This will contain details such as survey number, who is the current owner, Patta Number etc. Before you purchase you need to verify this document and also after purchase this document will be sent to you as a copy. For example, after the registration ,along with the other documents this will also be sent to you.

The chitta contains the following

  • Patta number

  • Survey number with subdivision

  • Village

  • Taluk

  • District

  • Property owner with father's name

Adangal - It contains details about each piece of land in a particular village by survey number, the tenants, the crop that is raised and its condition.

The Adangal records contains information such as

  • Survey number

  • Wise holdings

  • Extent of field

  • Duration of tenancy

  • Details of first crop

  • Details of Second crop

  • Month and date of harvest

  • Approximate yield of crops

  • State on ground particulars

The Land Holding Details (A-Register) and Land Ownership details (Chitta) are the Master Records. The other records are updated depending on the transactions.

An advantage of buying land from promoter is that they will do the following up with VAO and surveyor for the above documents. Private seller will not get this document for you. Make sure you update these documents in your name.

Then there is the FMB [Field Map Book] Sketch [-or known as just the “sketch”] which is a scale drawing of the survey numbers involved. This is again obtained from the VAO.Between, the patta [which describes the borders of the property], the adangal, the chitta, the sketch and the stamped, registered document of ownership, you are pretty much a legal owner !

3)  Regularising your ownership - In order to ensure smooth disbursement of home loans for construction on your land in the future it is important to make sure you pay all property and water taxes relevant to your land on a regular basis. Just to verify proof of your ownership you could request and obtain a copy of the latest copy of the "EC" (Encumbrance Certificate) that should list your name as the rightful owner. Also make sure you have all the parent documents of the land in your possession (since banks will want all parent documents for loans). This includes all the sale deeds of all past owners who owned the land .The Sale Deed or other document under which a person derives title is known as “Title Document”. All earlier documents that indicate the title of the persons who are predecessors in interest establishing the flow of title up to the present purchase are known as “Parent Documents”. In order that a title is clear, both the present title deed and parent documents have to be in order. In some cases you might share a joint patta with another owner if you have bought a portion of a larger piece of land. In such a case you can request a survey of your land have the land split with your name as a single owner. It is also a good idea to get all the tax receipts paid in the past by the previous land owner and a "No Tax Due" certificate from the VAO upto date. These tax receipts will help secure a loan in the future as it will very clearly establish you as the rightful owner.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 17:08