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3 Major Steps of Owning Land

Written By Sambasivarao on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Owning land involves three major steps: registering the land/sale deed; transfer of ownership through relevant documents, and regularising continued ownership of land. Let us look at each step in detail..

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 a legal opinion of the land by a reputed lawyer. This also includes getting the latest Encumbrance(EC) Certificate dating back to 13-30 years. The EC will list all transactions involving the land till date which includes loans, collateral or legal issues. Make sure that the EC is clean, and 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 valid Power of Attorney. If not, you need to make sure that 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(Village Administrative Officer) office. The 'A' register is a government record that contains all the survey numbers and its subdivisions with the classification of the land and its extent in acres or hectares, and details of the property such as its 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 documents etc. it's important that you verify ownership and land details in the 'A' register extract which can be got from the VAO 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, 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 specifics - Specifies the area of the land in hectares.
  • Tax - Lists the tax assessment for the land. It's usually at a ridiculously low price compared to what you have to pay in other countries.
  • Owner information - Lists the property owner's name. Pay attention to this piece of information. You want the owner's name to match the name on the sale deed. If this property is owned by the government (e.g. road, acquired land etc.), it will 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.

Transfer of ownership through relevant documents

This is basically a proof showing 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 the 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 will 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 has paid the taxes or has any dues, and the details of the tenants who have cultivated the land (in case of Adangal). You could ask for this if you do not see it in the document.
Chitta - This document will be with VAO, and also a copy in the Taluk office, and will contain details such as the survey number, the current owner, patta number etc. Before you purchase, you need to verify this document, and also after the 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's name with father's name
Adangal - This contains details about each piece of land in a particular village by survey number, its tenants, the crop raised and its condition. The Adangal records contain 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 master records. The other records are updated depending on the transactions.
The advantage of buying land from a promoter is that he will do the follow up with VAO and the surveyor for the above documents. A private seller will not get this document for you. Make sure you update these documents in your name.
FMB Sketch - Then there is the FMB Sketch [sometimes just known as sketch] which is a scale drawing of the survey numbers involved. This is again obtained from the VAO. With 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!

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 the proof of your ownership, you could request and obtain a copy of the latest copy of the EC 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 the sale deeds of all past owners.The sale deed or any other document under which a person derives his title is known as the title document. All earlier documents that indicate the title of the person who is the predecessor in interest establishing the flow of the title up to the present purchase are known as parent documents. For a title to be 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 and 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. These tax receipts will help secure a loan in the future and will very clearly establish you as the rightful owner.

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  1. clearly stated all the details elaborately

  2. Can anyone let me know what is the validity of adangal copy?

  3. "non-Indian or dual-citizen property buyers in India cannot buy agriculture land"

    This statement is incorrect. There is nothing in Indian law regarding buying agricultural land about "Citizen", but only mention of "Resident". It says NRI cannot buy agricultural land.
    Please quote the relevant Indian law that says anything about "non-Indian" or "dual citizen".

  4. This person has elaborately given all the procedures involved in buying a land in Tamil Nadu.
    Thanks to him for this great effort.

  5. Very udeful information Thanks for sharing

  6. Useful information you has been provided. Thank you.

  7. Sales deed measurement is Correct and the patta measurement is Incorrect, what can i do?

  8. http://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/q-and-a/discrepancy-in-patta-measurements/article7285951.ece

    Pls refer

  9. I have some issues, I had built my house in the joint Patta. The joint Patta hasn't my name. Now I want to get power connection to my home. That is why I had asked VAO certificate to VAO officer. They didn't provide a VAO certificate to me. Because not there my name in the Patta. I am living there more than 60 years above. I have all the documents (Ration card, voter ID, AADhar Card, PAN card,Driving License) for that place without Patta. How to get Legal ownership for that place? Or Please give me some IDEA to get power connection to my home using by those above documents.


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