We all know that if you inherit a home from someone else or even buy a home for the first time, you would need to legally transfer the property to your name. It’s actually a pretty straightforward process and there isn’t much documentation involved.
However, there can be a slight confusion because there’s a difference in property that is transferred between family, property bought from someone outside the family and property left by a deceased person.
It can get a bit technical, but bear with us and just keep these two words in mind: Memorandum of Transfer (MoT) and stamp duty.
You’ll need the Borang 14A
The Memorandum of Transfer that we just mentioned is a form used to transfer ownership of property from one person to another. In Malaysia, it’s known as Borang 14A, and it looks like this:
The Selangor government also has a guide on how to fill this form up on their website.
Buying a house from a developer
For those of you who own strata properties (apartments, condos and high-rise properties), you would know that when you first buy your home, the strata title (property title) will be with the developer. At that point, the home will still technically belong to the developer and not to you, the homebuyer. The developer is supposed to help set up the first management body for the residence.
After a number of years, that management body—known as the Joint Management Body (JMB)—will need to be dissolved and a Management Committee (MC) will be formed. For this to happen, the developer would have to transfer the strata titles to the homebuyers first.
When the strata titles are ready to be passed, the developer’s lawyer will contact the homebuyers to fill in the necessary paperwork—the Memorandum of Transfer and the stamp duty (more on this later). You can also get your own lawyer if you don’t want to work with the developer’s lawyer.
Transferring title from someone else
This would apply to you if:
(i) you were buying a secondhand home from someone (known as a sub-sale) or
(ii) someone within your family was transferring property to you (a parent, spouse, child etc.)
(ii) you were simply getting a house from someone else (you’re not buying it or getting it from a family member).
Similar to if you were buying a home from a developer, you will need to get a copy of the borang 14A. For this, you’ll need to make your way to the nearest Pejabat Tanah dan Galian—the land office—to get the form. When the form is signed, it has to be signed before a lawyer who will be the witness. For Malay reserve lands, it has to be signed before the Pentadbir Tanah for Malay reserve lands in your area.
After this, you’ll need to bring the house grant, your MyKad as well as the MyKad of the person giving you the land to the land office and submit all of this together. Usually, both parties (the person giving the land and the one receiving it) need to be present. But in some cases where the owner of the land is old, unwell, or overseas, you’ll need to bring additional proof as to why they can’t be there.
You might need to pay a stamp duty
Once the first step of signing the legal documentation is done, the next step is to pay a stamp duty. Think of it as a tax on the land. However, in some cases this stamp duty will be slashed or fully exempted.
If you’re buying a home from a developer or a secondhand property from someone you don’t have any familial ties with, you’ll need to pay 100% of the stamp duty. But for some family members, there’s actually a concept called ‘love and affection’ under property/tax law.
Under the Stamp Duty (Exemption) (No. 10) Order 2007, these are the exemptions that will be given:
- Transfer from spouse to spouse: 100% exemption
- Transfer from parent to child: 50% exemption
- Transfer from child to parent: 50% exemption
So, if you’re getting a house from a sibling, cousin, grandparent or any other family member not mentioned above, the full stamp duty applies to you. Take note that the 50% exemption for children only applies to legitimate children. If a child was born out of wedlock or does not have the parents’ names on his birth certificate, he would not fall under this definition.
In case you weren’t aware, the government has removed the stamp duty on MoTs for anyone who buys their first home worth up to RM500,000. This will be in effect until 31st December 2025. Otherwise, the full rate will apply.
Also do note that the exemptions listed above only apply to transfers made when both the parties are alive. It’s a slightly different case if the person who owns the property has passed on, and this takes us to the next point.
What if you’re already under someone’s will?
Most people might think that if they’re under someone will, they will automatically get whatever is listed in it. But a lesser known fact is that wills can be contested. Meaning, someone else can come and dispute what’s in the will and ask for a share of it instead. Usually, those who would contest a will would be the deceased’s next of kin or someone who was their dependent.
Besides that, if the deceased had outstanding debts, the properties listed in the will will first be sold so that the debts can be paid off. What this means is that only if the property is still available after the debts are paid, can the person listed under the will receive it.
To transfer the legal title of a property through a will, you’ll need to go to the land office with the will. Take the death certificate of the deceased as proof. Once they’ve confirmed that you are listed in the will and are entitled to the property, the same process as above will begin: sign the Memorandum of Transfer (borang 14A) and pay the stamp duty if it applies.
It can get even more complicated if a person dies without a will. The family and dependents may still get the property, but it will be a longer process.