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Conveyancing lawyer and Conveyance

Conveyance is simply the act of a real property transfer between two parties. What does a conveyancing lawyer do?
VW beetle parked in front of a house. Image text: dream house, you don't need conveyancing lawyer

In this article:

  • What is conveyance and conveyancing
  • Do you need a conveyancing lawyer in Malaysia
  • What does a conveyancing lawyer do
  • What legal acts regulates the property market

What is conveyance and conveyancing

Conveyance is simply the act of a real property transfer between two parties. These parties may be natural persons, or corporations – which are legal entities by law. An act of conveyance will involve a written deed or contract.

Conveyancing will usually be carried out by solicitors or lawyers, often specialising in property law. In some jurisdictions, notably England, conveyancing can be done by licensed conveyancers.

Do you need a conveyancing lawyer in Malaysia

As pointed out by Malaysian lawyer, Khairul Anuar bin Shaharudin, no, you do not. Any individual can prepare and complete the requisite forms and file them with the authorities. Note, however, that the do-it-yourself style route, is devoid of any legal guarantees.

With a conveyancing lawyer in Malaysia, the fees are regulated by the ‘Solicitors Remuneration Order (SRO), 2005’, of the Legal Profession Act, 1976. And if you have an issue with the lawyer fees your conveyancing lawyer is charging, there is recourse to the Disciplinary Board in Kuala Lumpur.

What does a conveyancing lawyer do

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the drafting of contracts and other necessary documentation. And this is correct.

Though, their role traditionally begins before any purchase offer is made. Among other things, you will need to be sure that the property you are interested in is unencumbered; that the seller actually owns the title to the property; any rights or legal restrictions that come with the property; local land charges or obligations; arrange a survey of drainage and water; and environmental search to understand if the property is near and former landfill or industrial sites.

Lastly, your conveyancing lawyer should walk you through all associated documents and contracts, and be able to clarify any points you do not understand.

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What legal acts regulate the property market

In Malaysia, several acts regulate the purchasing and transfer of property. These are:

  • Stamp Act, 1949; relating to stamp duty applicable on such purchases including transfer of ownership of land and real estate.
  • National Land Code, 1965; “An act to amend and consolidate the laws relating to land and land tenure, the registration of title to land and of dealings therewith and the collection of revenue therefrom within the States of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, Terengganu and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, and for purposes connected therewith.”
  • Housing Development Act, 1966; “An Act to provide for the control and licensing of the business of housing development in Peninsular Malaysia, the protection of the interest of purchasers and for matters connected therewith.”
  • Strata Titles Act, 1985; “An Act to facilitate the subdivision of building into parcels and the disposition of titles and for purposes connected therewith.”
  • Banking and Financial Institutions Act, 1989; “An Act to provide new laws for the licensing and regulation of institutions carrying on banking, finance company, merchant banking, discount house and money-broking businesses, for the regulation of institutions carrying on certain other financial businesses, and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.”

A little more about Property Law in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the State Land Offices administer land registrations, which comes under the purview of the Department of Land and Mines, in turn part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Properties can be classified in one of three ways: Freehold, Leasehold, and Malay Reserved Land. Both freehold and leasehold land are divided into one of three titles: Master Title, relates to a larger parcel of land on which multiple properties may be built and will usually be in the name of the developer; Individual Title, upon which normally one property is build; Strata Title, applicable to multi-storey buildings like condominiums.