Property law in India and its relevance for NRIs

Property law in India and its relevance for NRIs

Property law in India is a vast subject. It is a study under various statutes like The Transfer of Property Act, The Indian Contract Act, Registration Act, Indian Stamp Act, RERA, Land Acquisition laws, etc. Apart from these, for NRIs, special rules and regulations are provided under FEMA by RBI.

Property can be moveable, immovable, tangible or intangible.

There are various property-related activities like an investment in a property through sale and purchase, renting out a property, registration of property documents, updating revenue records and municipal records, exchange and transfer of ownership of property, etc.

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Many top lawyers, including property lawyers and property management companies, offer services to deal with such activities. There are property lawyers in India, assisting in property-related documentation and transactions and settling legal disputes if the need arises.

Property law in India covers a lot of areas. Some of the everyday activities relate to:

  • Under property law in India, real estate investment is a significant area. It has been an attractive option for NRIs and serves the dual purpose of maintaining a connection with roots and profit-making. NRIs are permitted to invest in residential and commercial properties just like any other resident Indian. But for agriculture and plantation, the requirements are different. For promoting the buying and selling of the real estate, the Government provides different loan options through banks and other financial institutions. NRIs have to be aware of the regulations made by RBI under FEMA for the sale and purchase of the real estate, payment as well as repatriation of sale proceeds.
  • For the purchase of property by NRI, money is remitted through proper banking channels. Funds maintained in NRE/NRO/FCNR accounts can also be used. A loan facility is available to buy a house and banks transfer the amount directly to the seller or developer’s account.
  • Intangible property like shares, bonds, and intellectual property rights like patents, copyrights, etc. are also a part of property law in India. NRIs can invest in Mutual funds, Government Securities, Bonds, Equity and Hybrid Funds, etc. Investment in Mutual Funds offers higher returns as compared to investment in Fixed Deposits but is subject to market risk. Mutual Funds Investment is regulated by SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India).
  • Other property matters concerning NRIs like title search, especially in case of agricultural properties, transfer of ownership in case of inherited properties, settling the issues related to distribution or partition of joint properties or ancestral properties, etc., all come under the purview of property law in India. 
  • Most property-related transactions can be done by NRIs either by personally visiting India or through a power of attorney.

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We have top lawyers, property lawyers, and property management companies taking care of such investments/property matters for NRIs.

The relevance of property law in India for NRIs

The property market in India offers unlimited investment opportunities for NRIs. All investments made in India should abide by the respective laws. There is no doubt that property law in India is relevant for NRIs. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is vital to protect and safeguard the huge amount of investments which NRIs make. There has to be clarity of rights and government policies. NRIs need to remain updated on property law in India.

For any investment in property by NRIs, property laws, TDS rules, and tax implications go hand in hand. NRIs must be aware of the tax implications of all the property transactions they wish to undertake. Rules and regulations under FEMA have to be followed. It is imperative to comply with all the legal formalities to avoid any dispute later on.

Property Management Companies help NRIs to manage their property in India while staying in their native place.

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NRIs face many questions when it comes to property-related transactions in India. Some of the most common queries are:

Experts in the legal and financial field, including property lawyers, are available to assist NRIs in understanding the property law in India and helping them sail through the process.

Importance of Due Diligence and Title Search before Property Purchase

Importance of Due Diligence and Title Search before Property Purchase

Due diligence and title search play an important role in real estate/property transactions.  People approach us and often have the following queries.

What is due diligence and Title Search before property purchase?

It means taking all precautions and ensuring that investment in a property is safe and secure.

By exercising due diligence:

  • The buyer identifies and evaluates all types of risks involved in investment
  • The buyer tries to rule out/minimize these risks

How do we go about it?

Due diligence implies:

  1. Scrutiny of title:

Title Search relates explicitly to the search for ownership and the rights of the owner to sell the property. Two kinds of title search reports are there.

  • Full Search – The title of the property is searched for a period of previous 30 years.
  • Limited Search – The title of the property is searched for a period of previous few years (less than 15 )

The search report is prepared depending upon the nature of the transaction. The title search is a very crucial part of due diligence as the defective title leads to no transfer at all.

Also Read: What is a Sale Deed? Legal Importance and Registration Process

B. Search for the right of the owner to sell the property:

The owner must be capable of transferring ownership. The buyer has to ensure that there is no restriction to the power of alienation of the owner. The limitation can be there:

  • If the owner is a minor or a person of unsound mind. Such a person can sell through guardian or a person so authorized.  
  • The owner is not having an absolute right in the property.
  • The owner is a lessee or a tenant.
  • Statue does not permit sale of the property.

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Which records are searched?

  1. The records maintained
  2. at Sub Registrar’s office
  3. with Tehsildar (mutation and Jamabandi)
  4. records maintained by Registrar of Companies
  • Title deeds – Gift deed, Will, Lease Deed, Sale Deed etc

 What is the significance?

There are many reasons to exercise due diligence before purchasing a property:

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  • Increase in the number of frauds – There has been an increase in frauds related to real estate. Due diligence involves verification of documents, title and ownership rights to ascertain the authenticity of the same and therefore, helps to prevent fraud.
  • Cost of investment – People invest hard-earned money or a huge amount of loan in real estate. Due diligence is required to safeguard the funds being invested. As stated above, risks are identified, evaluated and minimized by due diligence.
  • Disputed property – Before buying a property, buyer has to ensure that the property is not involved in any litigation. If there is any court case pending concerning the property or the rights of the owner, it can pose hardships later for the buyer. The buyer is bound by the decision of the court, which may or may not be favourable. 
  • Encumbrances which affect the value of the property– The property intended to be purchased must be free from all types of encumbrances like
    • Mortgage
    • Lien
    • Charges due (utility bills, tax payment or any other statutory payment)
    • Litigation

A certificate in this regard is issued by the Office of the Sub Registrar. The buyer must inspect the original title deed as it is deposited with the Bank if there is any loan against the property.

Also Read: What To Do If Your Property Possession Has Been Delayed?

  • Easement Rights/ Acquisition process affect the interest of the purchaser: The property might be having
    • an easement right (right to have a passage through the land)
    • covered under acquisition scheme of the Government.

The buyer must check for the same. It affects the returns from investment.

  • Necessary Approvals – A buyer must ensure that the owner has obtained necessary approvals from the authorities. Approval is granted if the statutory requirements have been fulfilled. 

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

It is advisable to get legal assistance for the search of records and verification of documents.