Under the Constitution and Land Law in 2001, the Government has the responsibility to protect the right to Private Ownership. The confiscation of ownership if it is in the public interest, and only after the payment of fair and justice compensation (Law on Expropriation in 2010). The only indisputable proof of ownership is Certificate of Land Title, many Cambodian landholders still do not have formal Certificate of Land Title by instead depend on “Soft” Possessory Rights. Under the absent of formal Certificate of Land Title, landholders face the high risk of land conflict.

There are two land tenure system in Cambodia has both “Soft” and “Hard” Titles as below:

I- Soft Title (Possessor Right)

Soft Titles normally refer to three documents that can show proof of ownership that are registered with or organized by the local authorities (Village, Commune/Sangkat & District/Khan).

  • Application for Land Occupation is request made by the Land Owner to the local authorities certified by Village & Commne /Sangkat
  • Letter of Right Transfer that is acknowledged and signed by local authorities (Village, Commune / Sangkat & District / Khan)
  • Private Sale-Purchase Agreement is agreement made only between Buyer and Seller certified by Village & Commune / Sangkat

IIHard Title (Certificate of Land Title)

There are two forms of land registration formerly established in the legal framework:

1- Systematic Land Registration: Systematic Land Registration (SLR) is so called L-map, the process by whole districts or communes are identified for adjudication. Land registration teams enter to   survey and demarcate land parcels, assess ownership documents, and adjudicate ownership. Sub-decree No.46 on the Procedures to Establish Cadastral Index Map and Land Register established the SLR process. It has a map showing the land’s location and boundaries.

2- Sporadic Land Registration: Sporadic Land Registration is a Certificate of Immovable Property Possession is given if the land registration was initiated by a land owner in an area where the systematic land registration hasn’t been conducted yet by the government. This is known as “sporadic land registration”. This certificate of Land Title usually doesn’t have the map showing the land’s location and boundaries.

Holding hard title is the only means by land owner can obtain ownership rights over property. Land with hard title has been registered at the centralized national level through one of three registration mechanisms. Acquiring official recognition of ownership is important, as this can minimize the risk of land conflict and protect landholders from losing their property, and it can be used in court as evidence in a dispute. Certificate of Land Title also can provide access to capital as security for bank loans.


  • Any transactions of Sale-Purchase Agreement (SPA), the cadastral service fee and stamp tax (ownership transferring tax) is under the discussion by and between both parties, Seller and Buyer.
  • Foreign ownership: Foreigners cannot own land in Cambodia (this is prohibited under Article 44 of the Constitution), but they can acquire ownership rights in private units of co-owned buildings from the first floor up. (Foreigners cannot own ground floors or underground floors in co-owned buildings). The rules were set out in the Law on Providing Foreigners with Ownership Rights in Private Units of Co-Owned Buildings, promulgated in May 24, 2010.


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