(A) Registration



Registrability

Q1: Which kinds of instruments can be registered?
A:Any deeds, conveyances, judgments and other instruments in writing which affect real and immovable property can be registered, subject to the provisions of the Land Registration Ordinance.
Q2: I have entered into a tenancy agreement for a term of two years with a tenant. Do I need to submit the agreement for registration in the Land Registry?
A: You do not need to do so. Under Section 3(2) of the Land Registration Ordinance, the priority of a tenancy agreement with a term not exceeding three years will not be affected even if it is not submitted to this department for registration.
Q3: Should registered instruments for which new stamp duty has been paid be registered again?
A: There is no such requirement in the Land Registration Ordinance. However, you may choose to register the instruments again should you so wish.
Q4: Is a carbon copy Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase acceptable for registration?
A: Yes.
Q5: If an Assignment and a Mortgage are delivered for registration with wrong sequence, will the same be acceptable for registration?
A: As far as the relevant Assignment evidencing the Mortgagor has interest in the affected property has been delivered for registration, the Land Registry would proceed with the registration of the Assignment and the Mortgage.
Q6: Are there any criteria to determine the registrability of documents?
A: Under Section 23 of the Land Registration Ordinance (Cap.128) (the "LRO"), the Land Registrar is obliged to register an instrument if it affects land and complies with the provisions of the LRO and the Land Registration Regulations (Cap. 128A) (the "LRR"). Hence, only instruments affecting land and comply with the requirements under the LRO and LRR are registrable.
Q7: Can unstamped Provisional Agreement for Sale & Purchase of Car Park be accepted for registration?
A: No. Since the enactment of Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 2014, agreements for sale of non-residential properties are also chargeable with stamp duty. To avoid unnecessary delay in the registration process, the lodging solicitors are reminded to submit the instrument to the Stamp Office to ascertain if it is liable to stamp duty before lodging the instrument for registration.
Q8: For re-registration cases, our opinion on the correction of material or clerical errors is sometimes different from that of LR. How to compromise?
A: The guidelines set out in LRCM Nos. 102 & 108 regarding the acceptance of re-registration cases should be complied with. For details, please refer to the said LRCMs.
Q9: If there are minor discrepancies in parties’ names between the instrument and the land registers, what should I do to ensure that the instrument is acceptable for registration?
A: Please refer to Land Registry Circular Memorandum (LRCM) No. 3/99. For names of foreigners with document of identity, we require lodging solicitors to add cross reference such as “also known as XXX” in memorial whereas for cases without document of identity, we require addition of the relevant cross reference to the memorial and confirmation by solicitors in writing that the two names refer to the same person.
Q10: If the property address in a Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase is somewhat different from that of the land register, will it be accepted for registration?
A: The property address stated in a Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase should tally with that of the land register. However, we will adopt a flexible approach as far as possible and may accept the instrument for registration if you can produce documentary evidence such as Demand for Rates and/or Government Rent issued by the Commissioner of Rating and Valuation to support that the property description in the instrument is correct.
Q11: An instrument chargeable with stamp duty is not stamped before it is delivered for registration. Will the instrument be registrable under the same memorial after it is duly stamped?
A: No. As the date of stamping is later than the date of delivery, the lodging party should withdraw the instrument from registration and lodge the duly stamped instrument for registration under a fresh memorial number.
Q12: If there is a change in the capacity of the purchasers between an Agreement for Sale & Purchase and an Assignment (e.g. from tenants-in-common to joint tenants), will registration of the Assignment be acceptable?
A: If the lodging party’s written confirmation is provided and the memorial no. of the Agreement for Sale & Purchase is not stated in the “Memorial No. of Transaction Satisfied” box of the memorial, LR will accept the Assignment for registration.
Q13: Will the Land Registry accept an instrument for registration that is delivered one month later than its date of instrument?
A: Yes. The Land Registry will accept the registration if the instrument affects land.
Q14: If the affected property is described as “Office No. 1” in a Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase but related land records show that it is “Shop No. 1”, will the instrument be accepted for registration?
A: No. The property description in the instrument and the corresponding memorial should tally with that shown in the land records.
Q15: Will Land Registry accept registration of an instrument in which the lot description defined therein bears an additional part, such as "including any further extension(s) thereto (if any)", that is not shown in land records?
A: Registration of instrument would only be accepted provided that the lot description(s) in both instrument and memorial tally with that stated in land records.
Q16: If a joint tenant of a property dies abroad, will the Land Registry recognise a Death Certificate issued by foreign country for purpose of registration?
A: In general, a Death Certificate issued by the proper issuing authority of a foreign country may be recognised by the Land Registry for purpose of registration provided that the Death Certificate has been authenticated by that country.
  1. For country or territory who has participated in the Hague Convention (abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents) ("the Convention"), the Death Certificate should be endorsed with a “Certificate of Apostille” issued by the proper authority in that country or territory certifying the signature and/or seal of the issuing authority of the Death Certificate are/is true.
    (For countries or territories participated in the Convention, please refer to the related website: http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=41)
  2. For country or territory who has not participated in the Convention, the Death Certificate should be endorsed with:
    1. a certificate issued by the proper authority (or foreign ministry office, as the case may be) in that country or territory certifying that the signature and/or seal of the issuing authority of the Death Certificate are/is true; and
    2. a certificate issued by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in that country or territory certifying the genuineness of the signature and/or seal of the proper authority (or foreign ministry office) mentioned in (i) above.

 



Memorial Forms

Q1: Must every instrument be accompanied by a memorial for registration?
A: Yes. All instruments submitted for registration must be accompanied by a memorial. Memorials must be in the form specified by the Land Registrar and in compliance with the provisions of the Land Registration Ordinance and Regulations. Please refer to Land Registry Circular Memorandum No. 2/04 for the prescribed format.
Q2: If an instrument affects a number of properties located in different districts, is it acceptable to include all properties in one memorial?
A: Yes. One memorial will suffice.
 
Q3: What is the solicitors code on the memorial?
A: The solicitors code is a unique reference number that the Land Registry allocates to each solicitors firm, on application. It is used to simplify data input in the computer system and to ensure return of deeds to the correct lodging party.
Q4: Upon receiving the application, how long will your office take to create a new solicitors code?
A: It takes about three working days. If a solicitors firm without a code needs to submit instruments for registration, the instruments can be submitted together with a written application for a solicitors code to the Land Registry.
Q5: Is it necessary to inform the Land Registry of any changes of name, address, telephone no. or fax no. of a solicitors' firm?
A: An application for a new solicitors code should be submitted in case of a change of name. The Land Registry should also be informed of any change in address, telephone no. or fax no. for updating internal records.
Q6: How do I fill in the Chinese address?
A:
Q7: How do I describe pre-IRIS memorials?
A: The following descriptions of pre-IRIS memorials are all acceptable for registration:
  • registered in the Land Registry by Memorial No. TW123456
  • registered in the then Tsuen Wan New Territories Land Registry by Memorial No. TW123456
  • registered in the then Tsuen Wan New Territories Land Registry by Memorial No. 123456
Q8: Is it required to state “official address not yet known” in the memorials for those cases where address is not yet known?
A: It is not required as stipulated in Land Registry Circular Memorandum No. 6/07.


Registration Fee

Q1: To whom should payment be made by cheques?
A: Cheques should be made payable to "The Land Registry" or "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".
Q2: The value of the consideration recorded in my instrument is $0 or $1. Why am I required to pay $450 for registration rather than $230?
A: This is because the nature of the instrument is to assign property or a mortgage and the Land Registry assesses the value of the property to be above $750,000. At present, the registration fee is $230 for property transactions with value of consideration not exceeding $750,000 and $450 for those over $750,000. If you can provide information that the value of the property assessed by the Rating and Valuation Department is $750,000 or less or other acceptable evidence, you may apply to this department in writing for refund . For the scope of acceptable documentary proof, please refer to Land Registry Circular Memorandum No.6/07.
Q3: What are the procedures for refund of over-paid registration fee?
A: Application for refund of over-paid registration fee can be made in writing to the Land Registrar with supporting document(s) as evidence. (Attn.: Deeds Lodgement Unit).


Deeds Lodgement/Collection of Deeds

Q1: How do I submit deeds for registration?
A: Go to our Customer Centre on 19/F of Queensway Government Offices. Service hours for lodgement of deeds are given in Q2 below. A ticket based queuing system operates to bring you to one of the service counters as quickly as possible.
Q2: What are the service hours for delivery of deeds in person?
A: Monday to Friday : 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays : Closed.
Q3: Can delivery of deeds be made by post?
A: Yes. The date of receipt will be deemed on the same day if the deeds are received by the Land Registry before 1:30pm on a weekday (office closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). For those deeds received after 1:30pm on a weekday, the date of receipt will be deemed the next working day.
Q4: Which form should be used for showing the proper order of lodgement of instruments?
A: Please use a Lodgement List for showing the proper order of lodgement of instruments.
Q5: Is there any regulation governing the time limit for registration of instruments that affect land?
A: The law does not impose any time limit for the registration of an instrument, but late registration may lead to a loss of registration priority. If an instrument is duly presented for registration within one month after the date of its execution, it may retain a priority back to that date. If outside the one month period, the priority will be counted from the actual date of its due presentation for registration. For certain court documents, e.g. charging order, writ, etc., there is a special rule governing the date of their effective registration. (Please refer to Q2 under “Others” for more details on the special rule.)
Q6: Would the Land Registry accept requests for express registration service ?
A: The Land Registry would consider each request on its own merit. Please refer to Q7 for the application procedure.
Q7: How to apply for express registration service ?
A: Application for express registration service must be made in writing by the lodging party of the instrument concerned to the Land Registry (Attn.: Registration Section) stating the reason(s) and producing the evidence, if any, to support the request.
Q8: Is any additional fee payable for express registration service ?
A: No.
Q9: How do I collect registered deeds and stopped deeds?
A: They will be returned to the lodging party by courier or post.
Q10: How do I return a stopped deed?
A: Please take it to counter no.8 at the Customer Centre, 19/F Queensway Government Offices.
Q11: Does Land Registry receive returned stopped deeds in the afternoon?
A: Yes. The time for collecting returned stopped deeds is 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Q12: How long will it take to register an instrument?
A: According to our performance pledges, it takes 15 working days to complete the process of registration. From receipt of a deed to updating the land register with the registered deed, it takes 11 working days. The remaining 4 working days are required for imaging and returning of the registered deed to the lodging party.

 



Temporary Withdrawal/Cancellation

Q1: How can instruments be withdrawn temporarily/cancelled from registration?
A: Application for temporary withdrawal/cancellation of outstanding instruments that have not completed registration may be made in writing by lodging parties.
Q2: How to cancel registration of outstanding instruments that have not completed registration if the instrument and the memorial thereof have been lost by the lodging party?
A: The lodging party should provide a written undertaking stating that the missing instrument and/or the memorial thereof will be delivered to the Land Registry for completion of the outstanding procedures for cancellation once they are found.
Q3: Can the Land Registry unilaterally cancel outstanding instruments that have not completed registration?
A: The Land Registry has no statutory power to cancel outstanding instruments that have not completed registration unilaterally unless upon application in writing by the lodging parties.
Q4: Is any additional fee required for cancellation of registration of instruments?
A: No.
Q5: Would the Land Registry accede to the request of the lodging party or other persons for the removal of a registered instrument from the land records?
A: The Land Registry does not have the authority to remove a duly registered instrument from the land records.
Q6: What can I do if I want to apply for urgent temporary withdrawal of the instrument?
A: The lodging party may forward his urgent request in writing. We shall expedite our processing of the instrument.

 



Property Reference Number (PRN)

Q1: How can I obtain the Property Reference Number (PRN) ?
A: The PRN is available from the land register or the electronic directory at the Information Counter of the Customer Centre. It will also be displayed after inputting the address or lot information in the search screen of IRIS Online Services and Self-service Terminals.
Q2: Is the Property Reference Number (PRN) a mandatory information in the memorial ?
A: A PRN must be given in the "Property Reference Number" box in the memorial except for instruments that affect all units of the same multi-storey building and/or development, e.g. Deed of Mutual Covenant and Occupation Permit. In such cases, the words "PRNs of all affected units" may be entered in the "Property Reference Number" box of the memorial.


Other Registration Questions

Q1: Can stamp duty be paid in your department?
A: No. Matters relating to stamp duty are handled by the Stamp Office of the Inland Revenue Department. For enquiries, please call 2594 3201.
Q2: What are the special rules governing registration of court documents?
A: If a bankruptcy petition, charging order, writ of summons or other court document instituting a claim is registered against a property, its priority of registration will be deferred for one day in comparison with a usual case of non-court document. Its registration will take effect on the day following the actual date of its due presentation for registration. Furthermore, the validity of registration of a court document lasts for 5 years only. One needs to renew the registration of a court document every 5 years before the expiry of its current registration period.
Q3: In what ways can the registration of lis pendens be vacated?
A: A lis pendens in the land register must be vacated by an order of the court. Sections 19 to 21 of the Land Registration Ordinance tell you how to apply to the court for an order vacating a lis pendens. The Land Registrar will act on the order when it is submitted for registration.
Q4: If property owners have changed their residential / correspondence addresses, do they need to notify the Land Registry and will the Land Registry update their addresses in the land record?
A: No. The property owners need not notify us of any change of their residential/correspondence address since owners’ addresses are only contained in the registered documents, the contents of which cannot be altered by the Land Registry.
Q5: Will an instrument have the force of law and be recognized by registration?
A: Any instrument that affects land is registrable subject to compliance with the requirements of the Land Registration Ordinance. However, the present deeds registration system does not guarantee the validity and force in law of an instrument just because it is registered. In case of doubt, you may seek advice from private legal practitioners.
Q6: If some of the particulars contained in the carbon copy Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase are blurred, will it be accepted for registration?
A: It is required that the instrument should be of such quality as to enable the contents thereof to be satisfactorily recorded by imaging method. In any event, the major particulars (e.g. names of parties, property description, etc.) which are required to be entered into the memorial must be clearly stated in instrument.
Q7: What measure has the Land Registry taken to ensure the accuracy of the data on the Land Register?
A: The registration process has various internal control measures including internal checking mechanism on the computerised registration system and different tiers of manual checking. Besides, an enhanced e-memorial form was introduced in 2009. This new e-memorial form is embedded with functions such as selection lists of natures of instruments, consideration descriptions and capacities and spell check and the data entered in this form will be converted to a 2-dimensional barcode that can be read into our computer system for scrutiny and registration. This enhanced e-memorial form improves the efficiency and accuracy of updating the Land Register.
Q8: What is the consequence if a document is not registered in the Land Registry?
A: The Land Registry only accepts documents which affect land for registration. Registration of a document affecting land gives it priority over unregistered documents and other documents registered after it, though does not give the document any validity it does not have. Documents which affect land but not registered will be void as against subsequent bona fide purchaser or mortgagee for valuable consideration.
Q9: How to maintain the scanning quality of oversized plans?
A: All images scanned by the contractor will be re-checked by the Land Registry's quality control staff.
Q10: Why are stopped deeds also scanned?
A: In order to provide search service of stopped deeds, which was available since 12.12.2002 according to Regulation 21(1)(aa) of the Land Registration Regulations, we have to scan the stopped deeds and store the images in our computer system.
Q11: After a stopped deed is clarified and re-submitted for registration, what is the registration date of the document?
A: If the re-delivered instrument is subsequently accepted for registration, the date of registration will be the date on which the instrument was first lodged for registration.
Q12: Under what circumstances will the Land Registry withhold instruments from registration?
A: If the instrument lodged for registration does not comply with the requirements under Land Registration Ordinance and Land Registration Regulations, it will be withheld from registration and returned to the lodging party for clarification.
Q13: How can I avoid an instrument from being withheld from registration?
A: To avoid an instrument from being withheld from registration, please refer to "Common Reasons for Withholding Instruments from Registration" under Memorial Form Easy Guide.
Q14: Is there any means to know the updated status of the instrument shown in "Deeds Pending Registration" section of land register before conducting a search of that instrument?
A: You may call our customer service hotline 3105 0000 and press 4-4-1 after selecting language and input the memorial number to check the registration status of the instrument.
Q15: Why a Provisional Agreement for Sale and Purchase annexed with a black and white plan photocopied from first Assignment is sometimes stopped from registration requesting for clarification on the colouring of the area marked with a colour code on the plan?
A: If the property is described in the instrument to be identified by the coloured area in the plan, the area marked with a colour code should be coloured as appropriate. However, if the plan has not been mentioned in the instrument, LR will regard it as additional information and accept it for registration without query.
Q16: Can I arrange a solicitor clerk to go to your office to initial against the correction of memorials of registered instruments?
A: No. Correction of error in a registered memorial has to be initialed by the attesting solicitors of the relevant instrument.
Q17: There is difficulty for the attesting solicitors to attend the correction of memorials during your service hours on weekdays. Could the appointment be arranged on Saturday mornings?
A: Saturday is not a working day for the LR since the implementation of five-day week in 2007. If there is genuine difficulty to attend the correction of memorial during our service hours, you may contact us for special arrangement for correcting the memorials outside our normal service hours during weekdays.
Q18: Regulation 9(1)(c) of the Land Registration Regulations (Cap. 128A) stipulates that an instrument delivered for registration should be bound in a manner to enable the instrument to be satisfactorily recorded by the imaging method. What are the requirements for binding the instrument?
A: To enable the instrument to be satisfactorily recorded by the imaging method, please simply bind the instrument with staples. Corner wrapping paper, eyelets, plastic coils, red wax sealing should not be used for instrument delivered for registration.