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Registering Property in

Lebanon

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Lebanon. It assumes a standardized case of an entrepreneur who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Lebanon to 189 other economies.

  • Measure of efficiency
    No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
    1

    Obtain an updated Real Estate Certificate from the Land Registry

    Agency: Land Registry

    Parties obtain an updated Real Estate Certificate from the Land Registry, such certificate mentions the names of the owners, a description of the property and any encumbrance or easment or inscription if any on the property. The Procedure to obtain the Real Estate Certificate is a straight forward one which only requires submission of the request, and the certificate is immediately issued thereafter.
    1 day LBP 10,000
    2

    Obtain an official cadastral map

    Agency: Cadastre Administration (Da'irat al Massaha)

    If the area is not specified in the real estate certificate and in the title deed, which is often the case, an official cadastral map and an area certificate must be obtained from the cadastre administration (in Arabic “Dairat al Massaha”).
    1 day LBP 20,000
    3

    Obtain an urban plan certificate from the Urban Planning Authority and the Municipality

    Agency: Urban Planning Authority and Municipality

    Parties obtain an urban plan certificate from the Urban Planning Authority and the Municipality. This is not strictly required by the law but it is usually requested by the buyer in order to make sure that no special easement or expropriation is planned on the property that he intends to purchase.
    10 days (simultaneous with Procedures 4) LBP 6,000
    * 4

    Obtain tax clearance from the Municipality

    Agency: Municipality

    Obtain clearance from the Municipality to make sure that municipal taxes prior to the sale agreement have been paid. This is not required by law but it is usually requested by the buyer.
    3 days (simultaneous with Procedures 3) LBP 8,000
    5

    Preparation of the sale agreement

    Agency: Notary/attorney

    An attorney or notary public or qualified facilitator prepares the sale agreement in the official form.
    The participation of a lawyer is not mandatory but it is preferred to avoid any mistakes. The sale contract is often drafted by the notary public or by a qualified facilitator.
    However, for complex and delicate real estate transactions where either or both parties need to protect their rights, the contract is usually negotiated and drafted by both parties’ attorneys.
    The Beirut Bar Association on its decision of April 26th, 2012 has set a minimum fee of LBP 1,500,000 for the drafting of a contract. Such minimum fee shall be subject to an increase taking into consideration the contract's value and importance.
    2 days LBP 1,500,000 (minimum set by the Beirut Bar Association)
    6

    Inspection of the property by the Tax Authority to get an official estimate of its rental value

    Agency: Ministry of Finance

    The Tax Authority at the Ministry of Finance orders an inspection of the property by a controller. This is done to obtain an official estimate of the rental value of the property. A copy of the sale agreement should be submitted to the Ministry of Finance to obtain the official estimate of the rental value.
    10 days (simultaneous with procedure 7) no cost
    * 7

    Obtain an official estimate of the rental value of the property from the Tax Authority

    Agency: Ministry of Finance

    An official estimate of the rental value of the property is delivered by the Tax Authority at the Ministry of Finance after the inspection together with a tax discharge (clearance). Sometimes, an occupancy certificate from the Municipality is also requested.
    3 days (simultaneous with Procedure 6) LBP 5,000
    8

    Apply for registration at the Land Registry

    Agency: Land Registry

    The contract, together with the documentation, is presented, either:
    • directly to the Land Registry officer before whom the contract is signed and then the property is registered
    • or to the notary public before whom the contract is signed and then both the contract and the documentation shall be presented to the Land Registry for registration of title.

    If it is presented to the Land Registry, all taxes and duties are paid at the tax authority cashier, which is located at the same building than the Land Registry.
    The taxes and duties to be paid if the contract is presented at the Land Registry are as follows:
    • Proportional stamp duty: 0.3% of contract value.
    • Bar Association tax: 0.1% of contract value.
    • Various taxes, namely:
    - Flat tax on contract: LBP 8,000.
    - Flat tax (called in Arabic “kaydieh”): LBP 8,000.
    - Flat tax on title deed: LBP 8,000.
    - Flat tax on new title deed: LBP 50,000
    Total of said flat taxes: LBP 74,000
    - Proportional transfer tax: 5% of contract value or of the value resulting from the official estimate, which is higher.
    - Proportional Municipal tax: 5% of the total amount (i.e. aforementioned 5% transfer tax + L.P. 74,000).
    - Flat stamp duty on new deed: L.P. 5,000
    The Contract is presented to the Assistant Land Registrar, then it will go through one or two officers before it reaches the Land Registrar who would:
    (i)- either accept the contract if he/she agrees on the price that was set by the parties and finds that there are no irregularities in the documents, in which case the contract shall be immediately registered, and thereafter the new deed will be delivered to the buyer.
    (ii)- or refuse to register the contract until the price is amended (i.e. increased) or the irregularities in the documentation is rectified, in which case the Land Registrar’s request shall be satisfied and the contract is to be presented once again for review and acceptance.
    It is only when the Land Registrar approves the signed contract and accepts to record it that the title to property is transferred to the Buyer.
    Then, once the transaction is completed, the new title deed in the name of the Buyer is delivered in about 5-7 business days. As per the express and clear provisions of the law, the buyer acquires full ownership only when the sale contract is recorded (i.e. after its acceptance) in the Land Registry, regardless of when the new deed is delivered to him.

    In case the contract is delivered for signing to the notary public, then both the contract and the documentation shall be presented to the Land Registry for registration of title, in which case the above mentioned costs shall be increased as follows:
    - Notary tax: 0.1% of contract value.
    - Flat tax: LBP 50,000
    - Notary flat tax: LBP 15,000
    - Flat stamp duty on contract: LBP 10,000
    - Flat tax (called in Arabic “Tahrir wa tanzim”): LBP 34,000
    - Flat reconstruction tax: LBP 2,500
    - Flat stamp duty on second copy of contract: LBP 1,000
    - Notary public fees: LBP 200,000
    All taxes and duties are paid directly at the notary public’s office, except for the stamp duty that is paid at the Ministry of Finance if its amount exceeds LBP 200,000

    The documentation shall include:
    • Title deed, as proof of ownership (held by seller)
    • Real Estate Certificate (obtained in Procedure 1)
    • Official cadastral map (obtained in Procedure 2)
    • Official estimate of rental value of the property (obtained in Procedure 5)
    • Municipal tax clearance (obtained in Procedure 6)
    • Sale agreement (prepared in Procedure 7)
    About 10 days LBP 74,000 (Flat taxes) + 5% of property value (Transfer tax) + 5% of the sum of Transfer Tax and Flat Taxes (Municipal Tax) + LBP 5,000 (stamp duty on new deed) + 0.3% of property value (stamp duty) + 0.1% of property value (bar association tax)

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Quality of the land administration index (0-30) 16.0
    Reliability of infrastructure index (0-8) 4.0
    What is the institution in charge of immovable property registration? Real Estate Registrar
    In what format are the majority of title or deed records kept in the largest business city—in a paper format or in a computerized format (scanned or fully digital)? Computer/Fully digital 2.0
    Is there an electronic database for checking for encumbrances (liens, mortgages, restrictions and the like)? Yes 1.0
    In what format are the majority of maps of land plots kept in the largest business city—in a paper format or in a computerized format (scanned or fully digital)? Paper 0.0
    Is there an electronic database for recording boundaries, checking plans and providing cadastral information (geographic information system)? No 0.0
    Is the information recorded by the immovable property registration agency and the cadastral or mapping agency kept in a single database, in different but linked databases or in separate databases? Separate databases 0.0
    Do the immovable property registration agency and cadastral or mapping agency use the same identification number for properties? Yes 1.0
    Transparency of information index (0–6) 3.0
    Who is able to obtain information on land ownership at the agency in charge of immovable property registration in the largest business city? Anyone who pays the official fee 1.0
    Is the list of documents that are required to complete any type of property transaction made publicly available–and if so, how? Yes, online 0.5
    Link for online access: http://www.lrc.gov.lb/en/content/required-documents
    Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the agency in charge of immovable property registration in the largest business city made publicly available–and if so, how? Yes, online 0.5
    Link for online access: http://www.lrc.gov.lb/en/content/fees-simulation-0
    Does the agency in charge of immovable property registration commit to delivering a legally binding document that proves property ownership within a specific time frame–and if so, how does it communicate the service standard? No 0.0
    Link for online access:
    Is there a specific and separate mechanism for filing complaints about a problem that occurred at the agency in charge of immovable property registration? No 0.0
    Are there publicly available official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the immovable property registration agency? No 0.0
    Number of property transfers in the largest business city in 2015:
    Who is able to consult maps of land plots in the largest business city? Anyone who pays the official fee 0.5
    Is the applicable fee schedule for accessing maps of land plots made publicly available—and if so, how? Yes, on public boards 0.5
    Link for online access:
    Does the cadastral or mapping agency commit to delivering an updated map within a specific time frame—and if so, how does it communicate the service standard? Yes, in person 0.0
    Link for online access: No
    Is there a specific and separate mechanism for filing complaints about a problem that occurred at the cadastral or mapping agency? No 0.0
    Geographic coverage index (0–8) 4.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the economy formally registered at the immovable property registry? No 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the largest business city formally registered at the immovable property registry? Yes 2.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the economy mapped? No 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the largest business city mapped? Yes 2.0
    Land dispute resolution index (0–8) 5.0
    Does the law require that all property sale transactions be registered at the immovable property registry to make them opposable to third parties? Yes 1.5
    Is the system of immovable property registration subject to a state or private guarantee? Yes 0.5
    Is there a specific compensation mechanism to cover for losses incurred by parties who engaged in good faith in a property transaction based on erroneous information certified by the immovable property registry? No 0.0
    Does the legal system require a control of legality of the documents necessary for a property transaction (e.g., checking the compliance of contracts with requirements of the law)? Yes 0.5
    If yes, who is responsible for checking the legality of the documents? Registrar; Notary.
    Does the legal system require verification of the identity of the parties to a property transaction? Yes 0.5
    If yes, who is responsible for verifying the identity of the parties? Registrar; Notary.
    Is there a national database to verify the accuracy of identity documents? Yes 1.0
    For a standard land dispute between two local businesses over tenure rights of a property worth 50 times gross national income (GNI) per capita and located in the largest business city, what court would be in charge of the case in the first instance? Court of First Instance of Beirut ruling on real estate matters
    How long does it take on average to obtain a decision from the first-instance court for such a case (without appeal)? Between 2 and 3 years 1.0
    Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? No 0.0
    Number of land disputes in the largest business city in 2015:
    Equal access to property rights index (-2–0) 0.0
    Do unmarried men and unmarried women have equal ownership rights to property? Yes 0.0
    Do married men and married women have equal ownership rights to property? Yes 0.0