During the period following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 up until 1989, all real property in Cambodia was legally owned by the State. There were no certificates of private ownership as there were only socialist style rights of use.

In 1989 a number of legal measures were introduced aimed at facilitating the transfer of state land into private hands. Any Cambodian may now file a claim at the local agricultural or land office requesting ownership of occupied property. If the state approves such application it will issue the person a certificate of land use and possession which is equivalent to a land title. It can be transferred and is not subject to reversion to the State.

Cambodian law, however, does not recognise claims to land based on ownership or possession before 1975.

Foreign Ownership of Land

Foreigners are expressly prohibited from land ownership under Article 44 of the Constitution and Article 16 of the Investment Law. Only Cambodian citizens, and legal entities with 51 % ownership by Cambodian citizens may own land.

Foreign entities and individuals may however lease land for up to 70 years, renewable and own buildings situated upon leased land.

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