Legal Aspects of Real Estate Investment for Corporations in the Philippines

Investing in real estate can be a lucrative opportunity for corporations in the Philippines. However, it involves navigating various legal aspects to ensure compliance and protect investments. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the legal aspects of real estate investment for corporations in the Philippines.

1. Understanding Ownership Restrictions

Foreign Ownership Limits:

  • Land Ownership: The Philippine Constitution restricts land ownership to Filipino citizens or corporations with at least 60% Filipino ownership. Foreign corporations cannot own land but can lease it for up to 50 years, renewable for another 25 years.
  • Condominium Units: Foreign corporations can own condominium units, provided that foreign ownership does not exceed 40% of the total project.


  • Ownership Structure: Ensure that the corporation’s ownership structure complies with the 60-40 Filipino-foreign ownership requirement if land ownership is involved.
  • Leasing Arrangements: For foreign corporations, consider long-term lease agreements for land investments.

2. Conducting Due Diligence

Key Considerations:

  • Title Verification: Verify the authenticity of the property title and ensure it is free from liens and encumbrances.
  • Zoning Compliance: Check the zoning classification of the property and ensure it is suitable for the intended use.
  • Regulatory Clearances: Confirm that the property has all necessary regulatory clearances, such as environmental compliance certificates and building permits.
  • Property Tax Compliance: Verify that property taxes are up-to-date and that there are no pending tax liabilities.


  • Title Search: Conduct a thorough title search at the Registry of Deeds.
  • Zoning Check: Consult the local government unit’s zoning office for zoning classifications and regulations.
  • Environmental and Building Permits: Obtain copies of environmental compliance certificates and building permits.

3. Structuring the Investment

Investment Vehicles:

  • Corporation: Form a corporation with at least 60% Filipino ownership to directly own real estate.
  • Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT): Consider investing through a REIT, which allows for pooled investments in real estate and offers tax incentives.


  • Incorporation: Incorporate a new entity or use an existing corporation to hold the real estate investment.
  • REIT Setup: Follow the requirements of the REIT Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9856) if opting to set up or invest in a REIT.

4. Compliance with Real Estate Laws

Key Laws and Regulations:

  • Civil Code of the Philippines: Governs property rights, sales, and leases.
  • Condominium Act (Republic Act No. 4726): Governs the ownership and management of condominium properties.
  • Real Estate Service Act (Republic Act No. 9646): Regulates real estate practitioners and services.
  • Building Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1096): Sets standards for building construction and safety.
  • Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160): Provides for local government regulations on real estate development and zoning.


  • Legal Review: Have a legal expert review all contracts, agreements, and compliance requirements related to the real estate transaction.
  • Engage Licensed Professionals: Ensure that real estate transactions and appraisals are conducted by licensed real estate brokers and appraisers.

5. Financing and Tax Considerations

Financing Options:

  • Bank Loans: Secure financing through bank loans or mortgages.
  • Corporate Bonds: Issue corporate bonds to raise capital for real estate investments.

Tax Considerations:

  • Capital Gains Tax: Pay capital gains tax on the sale of real property, typically 6% of the gross selling price or fair market value, whichever is higher.
  • Documentary Stamp Tax: Pay documentary stamp tax on the transfer of real estate, typically 1.5% of the selling price or fair market value, whichever is higher.
  • Real Property Tax: Pay annual real property taxes to the local government unit based on the assessed value of the property.


  • Tax Planning: Develop a tax strategy to minimize tax liabilities and ensure compliance with all tax obligations.
  • Financing Arrangements: Explore and secure the most favorable financing options for the real estate investment.

6. Lease Agreements

Key Considerations:

  • Lease Terms: Clearly define lease terms, including the duration, rental rate, payment schedule, and escalation clauses.
  • Termination Clauses: Include provisions for the termination of the lease agreement and conditions for renewal.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Specify responsibilities for property maintenance and repairs.


  • Drafting and Review: Have lease agreements drafted and reviewed by legal professionals to ensure they protect the interests of the corporation and comply with local laws.

7. Environmental and Social Compliance

Key Considerations:

  • Environmental Impact: Assess the environmental impact of the real estate investment and obtain necessary environmental compliance certificates.
  • Social Responsibility: Ensure that the investment complies with social responsibility standards and does not adversely affect local communities.


  • Environmental Assessment: Conduct environmental impact assessments and secure necessary permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
  • Community Engagement: Engage with local communities and stakeholders to address any concerns and ensure responsible investment practices.

Best Practices for Real Estate Investment

  1. Engage Professional Advisors:

    • Work with experienced real estate lawyers, brokers, appraisers, and tax advisors to navigate the complexities of real estate investment.
  2. Conduct Comprehensive Due Diligence:

    • Perform thorough due diligence to identify potential risks and ensure that the property is a sound investment.
  3. Stay Updated on Legal and Regulatory Changes:

    • Regularly monitor changes in real estate laws and regulations to ensure ongoing compliance.
  4. Develop a Strategic Investment Plan:

    • Create a strategic plan that aligns with the corporation’s long-term goals and objectives for real estate investment.
  5. Maintain Accurate Records:

    • Keep detailed and accurate records of all transactions, agreements, and compliance documents related to the real estate investment.


Investing in real estate in the Philippines offers significant opportunities for corporations but requires careful attention to legal and regulatory requirements. By understanding the legal aspects and following best practices, corporations can protect their investments and maximize returns.

Navigating the business landscape in the Philippines can be both rewarding and intricate. Whether you’re embarking on a new venture or scaling up, ensuring that your corporate endeavors are in line with local regulations is paramount.

At CBOS Business Solutions Inc., we pride ourselves on simplifying these processes for our clients. As a seasoned professional services company, we offer comprehensive assistance with SEC Registration, Visa processing, and a myriad of other essential business requirements. Our team of experts is dedicated to ensuring that your business is compliant, well-established, and ready to thrive in the Philippine market.

Why venture into the complexities of business registration and compliance alone? Allow our team to guide you every step of the way. After all, your success is our commitment.

Get in touch today and let us be your partner in achieving your business goals in the Philippines.

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