What is Singapore unregistered land?

System of registration

Since the 1960s, two systems of land registration have operated in parallel in Singapore: registration under the Registration of Deeds Act of Singapore (RODA) and registration under the Land Titles Act of Singapore (LTA). However, with the enactment of the Land Titles (Amendment) Act 2001 of Singapore, virtually all land in Singapore has been converted and brought under the latter regime.

Land registered under the RODA

This land is known as ‘unregistered land’, and interest in the land is achieved by way of the signing, sealing and delivery of a deed. Registration of the deed with the Registry of Deeds secures priority (which is based on the date of registration) and ensures admissibility as evidence of title to the land in court. One of the key problems with this regime is the tedious process of the checking of title, which typically requires tracing back to at least 15 years prior to a deed registration to ensure a good root of title.

Land registered under the LTA

This land is known as ‘registered land’, and the advantage of this system over the unregistered land regime lies in the fact that only one document of title, upon which is endorsed every transaction affecting the particular property, has to be examined. However, registration is mandatory to effect the transfer of an interest in the land and, upon registration, the title is regarded as practically indefeasible. Upon registration, the Singapore Land Registry will issue a certificate of title containing the registration particulars of the title and a legal description of the property; a duplicate certificate of title is to be held by the current registered proprietor as proof of his or her title.