“New Land First” Proposal
Q1: What is “new land first” proposal?
A: Under the “new land first” proposal, title registration will be implemented on newly granted land first (i.e. land granted by the Government after the commencement of the LTO). The conversion of existing land registered under the LRO (“LRO land”) will be pursued at a later stage in a subsequent legislative exercise after a few years of implementing title registration on new land and subject to the reaching of consensus with the key stakeholders on the conversion mechanism.
Q2: Why is it proposed to implement title registration on newly granted land first?
A: The implementation of title registration on newly granted land is relatively straightforward. The task of preparing an amendment bill for implementing title registration on new land is simpler. This will help speed up the preparatory work for the implementation of a title registration system in Hong Kong, which will enable the public and industry practitioners to enjoy the benefits of the new system earlier.
The “new land first” proposal will enable the Land Registry to focus its resources on setting up a title registration system for new land and gain experience from running the title registration system. Also, implementing title registration on new land will have a demonstrative effect and help build support for the extension of the new registration system to existing LRO land.
The Land Registry has been actively engaging the key stakeholders through briefings and discussion meetings on the “new land first” proposal. All key stakeholders have expressed support in principle for the proposal. The proposal was presented to the Panel on Development of the LegCo on 19 December 2022 and gained general support. The Land Registry is proceeding to prepare legislative amendments to the LTO to implement the proposal and the target is to introduce the LT(A)B into the LegCo in early 2024. The Registry will continue to engage key stakeholders to work out the implementation details and to undertake other preparatory work.
Q3: If the “new land first” proposal is adopted, will the current deeds registration system and the new title registration system run in parallel indefinitely?
A: Under the "new land first" proposal, title registration system will apply to new land first, and existing LRO land will continue to be dealt with and registered under the current deeds registration system and existing laws. Parallel running of two registration systems is not uncommon in overseas jurisdictions. For example, in England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Singapore, parallel running of title registration system and its original land registration system has lasted or has been lasting for a relatively long period of time.
In tandem with the drafting of the Land Titles (Amendment) Bill (“LT(A)B”) to implement the “new land first” proposal, the Government will explore and examine options for converting existing land to title registration system with a view to readying them for early discussion with key stakeholders after the LT(A)B is passed by the LegCo.
Q4: What is “new land” under the “new land first” proposal?
A: In gist, subject to certain exceptions, “new land” means land granted under a Government lease or an agreement for a Government lease on or after the day (“appointed day”) on which the LTO comes into operation with a lease term expressed to run from or after the appointed day. It will include land granted by the Government by way of land sale (auction or tender), private treaty grant and land exchange.