Saturday, December 27, 2008

Paloma property

This afternoon, December 27, 2008, after having luch in san Jose town, here in Negros Oriental, my father took us to a piece of beach lot he bought years ago in Sibulan town.
Sibulan is the next town north of Dumaguete City.
We call this the Paloma property because it was once before, the site of a popular beach frequented by bathers called La Paloma.
He wanted to show us the progress on the beach lot, which is around 1,000 square meters, after it was inundated by the continuing encroachment of seawater onto the property.
He built a seawall.
He fortified the lot so that the sands would not be continuously eroded.
Judging by the looks of the seawall, it must have cost some money.
It is built by huge rocks and cement.
The rocks according to my father were pushed and piled down the earth before cementing the wall.
In that way, the oncoming waves would impact the rocks, not the cemented seawall.
The rest house has aged.
We used to sleep over the rest house when Josh was just around one year old.
But the waves continuously ate up the sands, which prompted my father to just spend for a solid sea wall.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Supreme Court upholds

I am delighted after receiving earlier this week, a resolution by the Supreme Court which upheld its earlier decision in a case I handled.
I represented a client, a buyer of a condominium unit in Metro Manila.
We filed a complaint with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board after we found out that the land where the condominium building was constructed, was mortgaged to a bank without written approval by the HLURB.
This Supreme Court decision upheld that provision in the condominium act P.D. 957 (Section 18) which says that "No mortgage on any unit or lot shall be made by the owner or developer without prior written approval of the Authority".
The lesson here is that as a condominium unit buyer, always check whether the land on which the condominium building where you are to buy a unit, is mortgaged or not. And if mortgaged, check if the mortgage has prior written approval by the HLURB.
We won in the HLURB, in the Board of Commissioners, the Office of the President, the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Corut decided in my client's favor last September, 2007.
The bank filed a motion for reconsideration.
The Supreme Court finally denied the bank's motion for recon.
End of the road.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Land protest

I am in Cebu today, October 24, 2008.
I took the morning flight from Manila, and in a couple of minutes will be hopping on a return flight.
I attended a hearing, a land dispute among relatives.
The land is located in Daanbantayan Cebu.
But our hearing is in the Provincial Environment and anatural Resources Office.
My clients' predescessors own the land, having bought is in 1920.
However, in 1980, some of my clients' relatives who were allowed to live on the land, claimed a portion of it.
They applied for a free patent.
A free patent is grant given by the government allowing beneficiaries to own a piece of public land.
My clients protested, alleging that the land is not properly subject of free patent because it is private land.
The adversaries then rely on a deed of sale purportedly exected by my clients' predescessors, and claimed it was conveyed to them.
My cleints now say which is which?
Are the relatives claiming the land to be public, in which case, they claim it via free patent proceedings?
Or are the relatives claiming the land is prviate, thereby claiming it via a deed of conveyance?
It cannot be both.
The land is either public or private.
Nothing in between.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adverse claim

An adverse claim is a legal remedy for any person who may have a stake or claim upon registered property.
A person who has a claim upon a certain real property will make a sworn statement and file it with the register of deeds.
The register of deeds will inscribe the claim in the title so that the entire world will be informed that there is a person making a claim over a certain property.
The adverse effects of any adverse claim is that persons will be wary in dealing with registered property with an inscribed adverse claim.
Banks for instance, will not easily approve loans where the collaterals are registered property with an adverse claim.
Actually banks won't.
The general rule is that an adverse claim serves as a warning to people to be careful in dealing with registered property with an inscribed adverse claim.
But my client, Manny, a real estate broker says this general rule is not always applicable and there are exceptions.
He said that registered properties in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig for instance have adverse claims from the city of Makati.
This means that for every title of real property in Taguig, the city of Makati registered an adverse claim.
Manny says people dealing with real properties in Taguig always make sure that the titles have adverse claims by the city of Makati.
If there is no such adverse claim, a doubt ensues on the authenticity of the title.
Manny says people feel more secure if the titles of properties in Fort Bonifacio have adverse claims by the city of Makati.
This means that the property is genuine.
It means the property is valuable.It is coveted.
Weird, right?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Got Broker ID

I just got my real estate broker ID.
It is issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, particularly the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection.
In Makati City, the Department of Trade is a major department that is located in various buildings along Jupiter Street.
So it quite confusing, if you don't know your way around.
There is a DTI office along Jupiter Street, and another in a building a ferw blocks away. Still another (National Capital Region) at Trafalgar, dela Costa Street.
The practice of real estate brokers are regulated by the government.
However, my impression is that the regulatory laws lack teeth, to such extent that there is really no difference between a licensed real estate broker and a non-licensed.
I am not aware of any person who acted as a broker despite not having any license, and was penalized.
As I said, anybody can act as broker.
Just get a special power of attorney from the seller.
If there are going to be more effective regulations to the practice of real estate brokerage, then there have to be tougher laws against unlawful practice.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Real estate cases

Last Friday, I attended two court hearings, both of them relating to real estate.
In one case, I am acting as legal counsel of a mortgagor, owner of a land whose land has been foreclosed.
I am asking the court to annul the mortgage.
My client's contention is that the bank breached their loan agreement for over-charging her on her monthly amortizations.
The over-charge was passed off as Value Added Tax collection, when at that time, the banks were non-VAT enterprises, meaning, banks were not supposed to collect VAT.
In the other case, my client, a real estate developer was included as a defendant by homeowners.
The homeowners were complaining that the landowner adjacent to their lots was harrassing them, claiming the lots encroached on the neighbor's land.
The homeowners, seeking an injunction, claim they are buyers in good faith.
The inluced my client the developer since it was the one who sold the lots to them in ---can you believe this--- 1983.
My client's defense: laches.
Whatever it is that the neighboring landower is claiming against the homeowners, it slept over it for the last twenty five years.
The titles of the homeowners are indefeasible.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to get a real estate broker's license

Today I accomplished the last step in my application for a real estate brokere's license.
I got the license certificate today from the Departmen of Trade and Insdustry, the government regualtory body for real estate practice.
I began the application by enrolling in 24-hours of comprehensive real estate seminar around March this year.
This seminar is a requirement before one can take the nationwide bi-annnual real estate examination, held in May and November.
I enrolled in Urban Institute of Real Estate, one of the many organizations that conduct this required seminars for a fee.
I think I paid P4,000 for the entire program.
Twice a week I attended lectures at Max Greenbelt in Makati.
I would say it was not really difficult for me, mainly because in my legal practice, I have been dealing in real estate cases and transactions.
What I did was to run through the materials to be taken up for a two-hour session.
Then I would read it again later in the week.
That was basically it.
The laws covered were familiar.
In my assessment, the volume of the materials for the real estate seminar would be equivalent to one elective subject in law school.
On May 25, 2008 I took the examination at a Makati School used as test center.
It was an all-multiple choice exam.
I placed fifth overall nationwide.
Then I somewhat forgot all about it.
I got busy.
So months after, I tried to finish the application by processing the license, so I can get my license number.
My Broker's License number goes this way: REB-NCR-20214(N)-08
The license has a lifetime of less than three years, expiring on December 31, 2008.
The documentary requirements for processing the license include two copies of the application form, three ID 1 x 1 pictures, The examination rating issued by the DTI, the certificate of attendance in the 24-lecture hour seminar, A surety bond of P5,000 and pay the license fee of P1,065.
After submitting it to DTI, I waited for three days.
Then I got the license certificate.
I don't know exactly the difference betwen having a broker's license, and not having one.
You can act as a broker even without a license, if you have a special power of attorney from the seller.
A difference I can see is that as a broker, you can open a brokerage office, and legitimately hold yourself out to the public as a licensed real estate broker.
The usuual analogy by advocates of broker licsensing is that anybody can go to a doctor for treatment.
But it is always better to go to a licensed doctor.
On the other hand my unlicensed broekr friends and clients would ask why get a license and be regulated and pay fees, when you can act as middleman even without a license. Just get a SPA.
In my case, a lawyer-uncle who has opened a realty firm prodded me to get a license.
In the province, his law office becomes also a realty office.
It is an affiliated practice in the province.