What is Real Estate Registration?
Real estate registration is a system that buyers of real estates and finance institutions giving a loan, on security of real estates, can conduct transactions safely through registering physical situation (location, house number, area etc.) and titles situation (current and former owner(s), security interest holder(s), cause of acquisition of titles such as sales, inheritance etc.) of real estates in the Legal Affairs Bureau and having these situations known to the public, although a registration regarding titles situation is not duty of all parties.
However, in many cases of real estate transactions in Japan, we file an application for a registration of title transfer (and creation of mortgage) at the date of closing. Why do so despite it is not duty?
The Japanese Civil Code stipulates as follows.
(Requirements of Perfection of Changes in Real Rights Concerning Immovable Properties)
Article 177 Acquisitions of, losses of and changes in real rights concerning immovable properties may not be asserted against third parties, unless the same are registered pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Real Estate Registration Act (Law No. 123 of 2004) and other laws regarding registration.
The right of property is transferred from a seller to a buyer when the buyer has made a payment in full in a common sale and purchase contract of real estate even if the seller still has the title on registration.
However, the foregoing provision of the Civil Code means if a registration of title transfer from the seller to a third party who does not know the sale and purchase contract between the seller and the buyer or a registration of attachment to the seller has been completed before a registration of title transfer to the buyer is completed, the buyer cannot assert his/her right of property against the registered third party even if the buyer has made a payment in full. That means, in this case, the third party acquires the right of property substantially, or in cases where an attaching creditor brings the real estate to an auction and it makes a sale, the buyer cannot acquire the right of property despite the payment has been made in full.
That is why we file an application for a registration of title transfer at the date of closing.
Services of Shiho-Shoshi Lawyer in a Real Estate Transaction
Shiho-shoshi generally attends a closing and files an application for a registration on behalf of each party in a real estate transaction in Japan.
Shiho-shoshi identifies both parties and confirms their wills of selling and buying. Also, shiho-shoshi examines documents necessary for the registration for the preceding reasons, and induces the buyer to make a payment and the financial institution to give a loan with certainty that the application can be made within the same day.
The role of shiho-shoshi in a real estate transaction is to intermediate as a third party in order to avoid fraud, such as impersonation, and/or failure to file an application for a registration, and to fulfill payment, delivery of real estate and registration simultaneously.