14 Legal Documents You Must Verify Before Purchasing Any Land Property

How does this article help you?

In this article, you will find answers to the following questions.

Which documents are required to make a land deal in India?
How important are each of these documents for your land transaction?

Why is it important to know about the documents required for land deals?

The land is one of the most crucial assets in the urban regions of India. Any purchase or sale involving land involves a large amount of capital and hence, needs to happen within the bounds of the legal system along with the presence of appropriate documentation. Documents defining the ownership, location, and other characteristics related to the land parcel being transacted are essential for any deal to take place.

As a buyer, one needs to be aware of these documents to ensure and validate the safety and legal ownership of his asset and as a seller, one needs to ensure the possession of these documents for a lawful transaction to take place. However, it is easy to get bogged down by the various legal terminologies and advice available. This article provides a quick guide to the essential documents required for any land transaction to take place along with their importance.

Which legal documents are required for land transactions?

1. Agreement to Sale

An agreement to sale is indicative of an anticipated sale of a land plot before the actual sale takes place. It protects the interest of the buyer and seller by defining the terms and conditions agreed upon by them including the location and description of the property, the transaction amount, documents to be produced and transferred, etc.

This document is required in case a land transaction has been decided to take place and would ensure that the aspects agreed upon for the sale are met by both parties. However, unless the sale deed has been carried out, an agreement to sale cannot legally imply a change in ownership.

Criticality Level: Moderate

2. Sale Deed

A Sale Deed is a legally binding document that indicates the sale and transfer of ownership of a land parcel from a seller to a buyer. It is one of the most important documents as it is legally valid evidence for the transfer of land ownership. It is important to note that the sale deed needs to be registered at the subregistrar’s office of the region where the land parcel falls to ensure its validity as proof.

As the registered sale deed records the actual transfer of ownership of the property, it is an essential document for any land transaction. Before partaking in any land deal, it is advisable to check and verify the land ownership through the sale and conveyance deeds for maximum years as possible. It can be verified through the Karnataka state government’s registration website.

Criticality Level: High

3. Mother Deed

To ensure the legal ownership of the land parcel, it is important to trace its ownership and the series of documents pertaining to the land maintained in the local authority records. Mother Deed contains all the information regarding the previous owners of the land including the various succession certificates, sale deeds, gift deeds, etc., which have transferred the ownership of the plot to the current owner. In the case of a non-agricultural plot, it also specifies the ownership of the land before conversion.

Criticality Factor: High

4. Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) Extract/Pahani

The Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) Extract, which is also known as Pahani in Karnataka, is issued for agricultural lands and contains information regarding mainly three aspects – land details, ownership details and cultivation and crop details. It also contains details of the conversion of land from agricultural to non-agricultural, if applicable.

The RTC Extract is essential for the sale of agricultural land and can be verified as an additional check as to the details regarding ownership and title of the property and if the land is converted for non-agricultural use. It is issued by the Village Accountant (Revenue Department) and would be required to be produced in case of sale of land, mutation changes, etc.

Criticality Factor: High

5. Tippani

Tippani is a survey document that is prepared while a survey is being conducted in the field for the land parcel. It contains all the basic details related to the land plot including the survey number and plot measurements indicated via a sketch (generally rough and not to scale).

This document provides the details of the land parcel as demarcated and identified during the survey and
hence is important to be produced during a land transaction.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

6. Akharband Extract

Akharband is a register that portrays the total land area along with the boundaries for the individual plots, the survey numbers, original allotment details, and in addition to that, the land revenue assessment or rate for every land plot. It also provides a detailed understanding regarding the land type – cultivable or not, dry, wet, garden, plantations, etc. The Karnataka Survey Settlement and Land Records Department maintains a record of the Akarband.

During a land transaction, it is advisable to acquire an extract from this register, called the Akharband Extract which gives all the related information as stated above for the land parcel.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

7. Conversion Order/Sketch or NA Order

The process to convert agricultural land for non-agricultural use in Karnataka is locally called DC Conversion, owing to the issuance of the order by the Deputy Commissioner. A Conversion Order is issued for the land which has been converted for other uses. Generally, an agricultural plot is converted for a specific permissible use, such as residential, commercial, industrial, etc.

A buyer needs to ensure that the land is appropriate for his intended use before the purchase is made. While the base document indicating this conversion is the Conversion Order, the RTC Extract also reflects if the land has been converted for other uses.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

8. Encumbrance Certificate (EC)

An Encumbrance Certificate is an essential document that indicates that the respective land parcel is free from all outstanding financial and legal liabilities. It acts as proof of free ownership or title over the land parcel. In addition to this, it also has details regarding past transactions.

An Encumbrance Certificate is important as it helps the buyer ensure that the land he intends to purchase does not have any encumbrances or mortgages. It is issued by the office of the sub-registrar of the region where the land parcel falls based on the registered property records. It is provided for a defined time period, outside of which it loses its validity. It is advisable to check and verify the Encumbrance Certificate as maximum years as possible before making a land transaction. It can be verified through the Karnataka
state government’s registration website.

Criticality Factor: High

9. Survey Sketch

The survey sketch is also known as the 11E sketch owing to the form 11E on which it is issued. It is the survey sketch of the land parcel that is to be transacted and is prepared and issued by the Survey Department. The components of this document include boundaries of existing survey number, demarcation of new plot boundaries, survey number, schedule of agricultural land, kharab details, and signatures of involved parties. The survey sketch helps guarantee that the data provided for the land being transacted is accurate and ensures updating of land records.

This document was essential for acquiring a new survey number for the plot as well as for registering the sale deed. However, since the past year, the insistence on producing this document during the uploading of registered documents on the State Government’s website has been withdrawn. Additionally, the private landowners can even make and upload their own survey sketches under the Svavlambi scheme, put forth to make the process quicker and simpler.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

10. Khata Certificate and Extract

Khata is available for anyone who might be possessing land or property which is present in the records. It indicates the primary owner and taxpayer of the land. Khata Certificate and Khata Extract are two separate documents. The Khata Certificate is required for the transfer and registration of land. The Khata Extract contains details of the owner and the land parcel and is required for the transfer of land. It can be accessed after the payment of taxes post the transfer of ownership and is essential for obtaining utility connections and building permissions. It can be accessed only by the owner of the land.

It is essential to verify the validity and legal status of both the Khata Certificate and Khata Extract to ensure the land ownership and details of the land and its presence in the local land records. The document can be obtained from Revenue Department. Not verifing these ddocuments can lead to the roadblock to your land transaction.

Criticality Factor: High

11. Mutation Extract

While the sale deed ensures the transfer of ownership of the land, it is necessary to conduct a property mutation through which this change can be reflected in the local municipal records and can assist in affixing the property tax liability to the new owner. A mutation extract is indicative of this change carried out in the mutation register. It shows that a land transfer has taken place, details of the land parcel, etc.

The mutation extract will be required to pay property taxes and utility bills and avoid levying any dues. While not being a mandatory document, it is highly advisable to have it and may also be demanded during future transactions. The mutation status and register can be viewed on the Karnataka state government’s website.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

12. Podi Extract

Podi comes into the picture when the bifurcation of the land parcel takes place, resulting in the splitting of the survey numbers into subdivisions. Podi is a mandatory procedure to be carried out by the Survey Department before buying or selling land. The bifurcated land is temporarily provided with podi numbers and later on, hissas. Post the verification by Survey and Revenue Department, the new survey numbers will be provided.

Podi Extract specifies the measurements of the property, survey numbers, etc. before and after the bifurcation of that particular land parcel has taken place. In addition to this, it gives a clear picture of the boundaries and area of each of the split land parcels. It becomes an essential document since it needs to be produced during the registration of land and updating of land records and Akarband.

Criticality Factor: High

13. No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Government Departments

A No Objection Certificate is an important document to be obtained before the purchase of land. It assures the legal status of the land. It also helps to ensure that no dues are pending. Further, the NOC indicates that the land is not under the ownership or acquired by any governing authorities.

The document provides important checks that must be ensured by the buyer and hence, it is advisable to obtain the No Objection Certificate.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

14. Property Tax Receipts

Property Tax is required to be paid on land as well as any built structures constructed over it. Verifying the receipts ensures that the tax has been paid consistently. The receipts also oftentimes contain data regarding the property, owner’s details, etc., and act as an additional check prior to land purchase.

The buyer may ask the seller to produce the property tax receipts for verification. The same can be accessed from the state government website if the application number for the land is available. It is advisable to check the receipts for at least five years prior to the land transaction to ensure that all the taxes have been paid off and no dues are remaining, since, post land transaction, the new owner will be liable to pay the outstanding dues.

Other than the property tax receipts, it is also suggested that any other dues relating to the property, utility, or any others be reviewed to ensure that the buyer is free from any liabilities.

Criticality Factor: Moderate

In addition to the abovementioned documents, there are a few others that might be important depending on the specific conditions applicable to the land and its owners. In case the deal is being executed by another authorized person who is not the landowner, a power of attorney stating that such a transaction can take place becomes mandatory. Further, if any loan has been taken concerning the land parcel, it is suggested that the buyer gains clarity on it through discussion with the seller as well as a no-due certificate from the bank, prior to the land transaction. Other than these, the proof of identity of all the involved parties including the buyer and seller would be required for the land transaction.

Impact by Earthfields

Earthfields is working to make the entire process of accessing and verifying documents much easier for the stakeholders through the development of a feature that will allow landowners and agents to upload documents related to the land parcel they are willing to sell, and the premium real estate developers will be able to access this data at the preliminary stage of envisioning a land deal itself. Legal Health Index is another Earthfields feature under the test mode designed to assist the developers to match their risk appetite with that of the land parcel as inputted by the landowners in the form of perspective percentages according to the legal documents available.

Further, the physical attributes mentioned in the documents would be able to be verified through the uploaded images of the site. Identification of the land parcel on the satellite map and development plan will also keep a check on whether any other documents might be required according to the zoning.

It is important to note that the abovementioned documents cover only the documents for land transactions and separate documents would be required for any development proposal. The exact list of documents required, and their importance can vary depending on factors such as the location of the property and the zone it falls under, the planning and governing authority of the region where the property is located, etc. Different places within the country may also have different names for each document. Additionally, a buyer should ensure that proper scrutiny and verification of documents have taken place. Hence, it is always advisable to be cautious and get proper legal advice before making land deals.

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