Land Registration

Abstract (Proof of Ownership) and Land Registry in Israel

On January 1, 1970, the new Israel Land Law (5729-1969) went into effect. This law replaced the Ottoman and Mandatory land laws that had been in effect until that date. The Land Law incorporated numerous changes, one of the most important being the introduction of a uniform land registry procedure in Israel along with the rights recognized by the new law.

The basic principle in the current registry method as implemented by the Land Law is that the entry recorded in the Land Registry Office (Tabu, as it was called in the past) will accurately reflect the status of the existing property rights. In this context, the Supreme Court of Israel courts clarified that - it is in the interest of the State that every transfer of real estate rights will appear in the appropriate Title Registries and will reflect the true status of the real estate rights, thereby preventing the creation of covert rights.

The entry recorded in the Land Registry Office (Tabu) is the one that creates the real estate rights. As long as the rights are not recorded, they have not been purchased. If, for instance, a party to a contract promises to sell real property, the real estate is still his/hers as long as the property is not registered in the name of the purchaser in the Lands Registry Office. The transaction will still not be completed, and remains only a contractual commitment to execute a transaction.

The Tabu Title Registry has additional significance in that the property purchaser, who relies in good faith on the registry and pays consideration on the basis of it, purchases an absolute right even if it is discovered out that an error exists in the Registry entry.

The right to rely on the Title Registry entry was established only with regard to those Title Registries administered in accordance with this law. Any other records administered in any other registries do not grant the purchaser the above-described right. It is not enough to check the Property Registry of the Israel Lands Administration, or of landholding companies, municipal authorities, or even large public development corporations.

The Title Registry acts as a sort of x-ray, which reveals the status of rights to real property. It is impossible to receive a complete picture of the situation regarding a parcel of real estate without first examining all the relevant Property Registries. The various Land Registration Offices grant all interested parties the possibility of examining the Title Registries for any property. These are public records and, for a usage fee of a few tens of shekels, an extract is issued from the computer of the regional Land Registry Office, containing the basic details regarding the property.

The Land Registry Office records are based on a division into Sections and Plots, where the plots are sometimes further divided into sub-plots. To check Tabu, the Section and Plot numbers are required for the property about which information is being sought. The Section and Plot numbers of a property can be found in the municipal offices, or by examining the Property Tax (Arnona) invoices sent by the local authorities to the property owner.