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New Amendments to Real Estate Registration Law: Accelerated and Streamlined Registration Procedures

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The law No. 114 for 1946 issuing the Real Estate Registration Law (“RERL”) has been the foundation of real estate registration in Egypt. However, since its inception in the 1940s its application has been facing multiple practical problems, including the slow registration process and onerous title verification procedures. These problems are deeply felt especially during a very dynamic period in the Egyptian real estate market.

Law No. 9 for 2022 amending the RERL aim at providing a rapid, streamlined and simplified registration procedure (the “Amendments”). The Amendments come into effect after sixty days from the date of their publication which was on 6 March 2022.

We will delve into the main provisions of the Amendments as follows:

Streamlined Registration Procedures

Previously the RERL required a long list of documents to be submitted when applying for real estate registration. The Amendments have reduced such documents to only include (i) identification of all related parties, their capacities and their signing powers (applicants with court rulings are exempt from this requirement); (ii) official digital map showcasing information and coordinates of the real estate subject of the registration and any other official document containing the same; (iii) legal title/deed of the applicant; and (iv) acknowledgement from the concerned party of the rights on the real estate subject of the registration (if any).

Previous required elements that were removed include the requirement to present the previous sequence of ownership of the property subject to registration. This was an impeding step that was deemed unnecessary by the legislator.

Documents required for registration of title acquired through inheritance have also been reduced to only include (i) a death certificate of the deceased; and (ii) their title of ownership.

Further, the Amendments allow applicants to submit registration applications by electronic means.

Material Facts as Proof of Ownership

Registration can now be attained by providing material facts that prove ownership (i.e. possession leading to the ownership of the property). In this instance, the Directorate in which the real estate subject to registration is located must investigate if the evidence submitted meets the ownership conditions in accordance with the law. The Directorate must decide on the request within thirty days. Such request would be subject to a fixed fee of EGP 500.

Expedited Challenge procedure

The Amendments have shortened the time limit in which the interim measures judge renders a decision upon a challenge raised due to the refusal to grant registration by the directorate. The time limit set by the Amendments is 7 days. The decision itself remains final.

Punishment for Submitting Fraudulent Documents

The Amendments provide that the punishment for such crime would be no less than one year of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding EGP 50,000.

Market Reaction

The head of the Egyptian Notary Public Office, Dr. Gamal Yakout, stated that the adopted amendments would improve the administration of real estate by the government. This would help authorities to better protect and maintain true and legal ownership of real estate with less possibilities of fraud. Dr. Gamal also mentioned that the Amendments would increase real estate investment because of the security and trust they create for investors.