A property developer is required to get different permits and documents before they can offer any of their real estate project to the public. One important permit that needs to be secured is a License to Sell. This is a home buyer’s assurance that he or she will get their dream home.

However, most people neglect to double check this information or are unfamiliar on how to verify this.

Here’s what you need to know about the License to Sell in the Philippines, and why you should make sure your developer has it:

1. What is a License to Sell?

A License to Sell (LTS) is a certification obtained by a property developer from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). The Presidential Decree No. 957 under Section 5 declares:

Such owner or dealer to whom has been issued a registration certificate shall not, however, be authorized to sell any subdivision lot or condominium unit in the registered project unless he shall have first obtained a license to sell the project within two weeks from the registration of such project.

It is a proof that the developer has a legitimate business and is financially stable to complete the project that they are selling. This is one way of ensuring that the property’s building plans and specifications have met the standard of the agency, plus that it is a genuine one.

2. Why is it important for check the License to Sell before buying a property?

Checking for the License to Sell is a crucial part of any home buyer’s due diligence. To avoid problems in the future, it is necessary to verify that the developer is approved by HLURB to sell their project. This is for you to know that they are capable of delivering a quality development.

Indeed, a real estate property is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make in your lifetime so you must go beyond the brochure and delve deeper before you settle for a condominium or a house.

3. When should you check for the License to Sell?

Make sure to first check for the developer’s License to Sell as you go house hunting and look for the information about your potential selection. Don’t fall for the pretty façade or fancy artists’ rendition of the property. What good will it do to finally come across your dream home, only to find out the developer doesn’t have a License to Sell?

4. How do you verify if the License to Sell of a property developer is legitimate?

Homebuyers can visit the nearest Regional Office of the HLURB which has jurisdiction of the place where the property is located. They can also verify this online for the list of projects that have an authentic License to Sell or Certificate of Registration, and even those which may have any encumbrances.

Find out the important regional numbers in HLURB’s website.

5. Who issues the License to Sell?

The License to Sell is issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. This is the government agency mandated to formulate plans for comprehensive land use, regulate housing or land developments and homeowners’ associations, and serve as an intermediary for disputes.

6. What is the purpose of a Temporary License to Sell?

The Temporary License to Sell (TLTS) is issued by HLURB to property developers to allow property developers to conduct marketing activities to test if the market is viable to their project. This is valid only for six months. If the project is deemed successful, then the developer must submit a Building Permit for its construction.

7. What happens if you purchase a property that does not have a license to sell?

You may choose to cancel the contract and demand for a refund or proceed with the sale. The sale is still valid, but the developer will need to pay the penalties.

Be a Smarter Home Buyer

Prevention is better than facing legal problems in the future. Make sure you have verified the property developer’s License to Sell, especially if you are planning to buy a pre-selling property. You don’t want to fall victim to a real estate scam, and lose all your hard-earned money on a fake land title.

Recently, the HLURB released Board Resolution No. 922 to further protect homebuyers. It requires developers to get approval from the HLURB before they can release an advertisement. The objective states:

[It] aims to ensure that the public and prospective buyers of any lot including any building or improvements thereon, or any unit in a project are protected from fraudulent practices and manipulations through close supervision and regulation of persons engaged in the practice of real estate service with a project.

Do you know property developers selling condominiums, yet don’t have LTS? Help others be a smart home buyer and share your information in the comment box below.

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  • don

    Trevi, an executive village being constructed in Concepcion Uno Marikina, is selling lots without license to sell. They are not even HLURB registered.

    As much as I want to buy a lot there, the agent I spoke to cannot provide me any documents except for a development permit dated 2013.

    She told me that the HLRUB registration is in the works. It’s now 2015. Does it really take that long?

    • Rizza Estoconing Sta Ana

      That development should have a license to sell before even offering the project for sale. You may check the name of the developer or the broker whom you have spoken with regarding the project online (http://hlurb.gov.ph/online-inquiries/) or visit/phone the HLURB regional office nearest you to discuss your concerns: (http://hlurb.gov.ph/about-us/?tabgarb=tab3).

      • don

        thanks rizza. i searched them there, but they are not yet registered. And you’re right, they should have a license first before they start selling.

        • Rizza Estoconing Sta Ana

          No problem! Yup. HLURB recommends not going into a transaction with a developer who does not have a license to sell yet for your own protection. Here’s a list of the agency’s recommendations if you do decide on buying property from a licensed developer: http://hlurb.gov.ph/buyers/

    • milotimbol

      go to http://hlurb.gov.ph/ and click online inquiry. I tried searching for trevi but cant find anything in marikina

      • don

        hi milo. they are not in the HLURB’s system because they are not yet registered.

  • Annie


    We bought a property in Cavite which we later found oput na wala palang license to sell noong naibenta sa amin. (I was too excited before and we didn’t know better)… When we moved in, dami nang naging issue such as substandard construction and incompetent response time when we need something fixed.

    Here’s my question, Would you know if we can get a refund for all the payments we did? kasi it was sold to us before they got the license? Have you encountered a case similar to ours?

    Thank you.

    • Hi @disqus_JD7iL5XKzP:disqus! Sorry to hear that. May I ask if you’ve already finalized the sale or are you still paying? When I was researching for an article, I came across this FAQ from HLURB:

      “What is the liability of the subdivision owner if he sold subdivision lots without license to sell? What is the effect of the sale?

      – The sale is valid but the subdivision owner is liable to pay administrative fine for unauthorized selling. While, the buyer may opt to rescind the contract and demand for a refund or proceed with the sale.”

      I am not that sure though if this is applicable if you purchase a house and lot. Anyway, this is also a good time to revisit your contract to see stipulations re cancellation.

      Check out this article to read more about downpayments:

      Hope this helps!

      • Annie

        Will definitely do that. Salamat sa pagreply.:)

        • Anything to help :) I hope all will be well. God bless!

  • Dale

    Is there a way to confirm online if the project has a Temporary License to Sell?

    • Hi @disqus_QpYVvWCP5x:disqus! You can look it up using HLURB’s online inquiries > http://hlurb.gov.ph/online-inquiries/

      Key in the name of the property, and it will show if the property has Temporary License to Sell (TLS) or License to Sell. Hope this helps.

  • Marilyn Gilana Bactad

    good day mam may tanong lang po pwede bang malaman ang babayaran ng amelyar kahit tatawag lng po.

  • Marilyn Gilana Bactad

    mam pwede bang malaman yung babayaran sa amelyar

  • Christian Tolentino

    Ms. Zip

    kumuha po ako ng pre selling condo.. nung 2014.. nag check kami sa HLURB this NOV 2016.. wla pa sila LTS.. may hearing kmi sa DEC. sa HLURB. nag request nrn kmi ng 100% refund.. makukuha po ba nmin yun? and may damages po ba cla skn?

    Marami pong salamat

  • Ernesto Fabros

    Dear Ma’am / Sir,

    Magandang Umaga,
    Kumuha ako ng pre-selling condo sa Victoria de Makati this year under New San Jose Builders Inc (NSJBI). Binayaran ko po yong reservation fee and the agent told me that my unit can be handover to me on December 2016. Prior to the handover nagbabayad na ako ng monthly payments sa NSJBI para lumiit yong babayaran ko sa tinakdang 10% downpayment sa handover date. pagkalipas ng 3 months na monthly payment may dumating na sulat galling NSJBI na yong handover ay na moved sa Dec. 2017. Tapos dumating din yong Contract to sell for my signature pero di ko pinirmahan dahil ibang Company ang nakasulat sa Contract To Sell instead of NSJBI. Dito na ako nag withdraw dahil hindi na tama ito para sa akin. Dito na ako nag decide na di na ituloy yong unit at saka di sumasagot yong NSJBI sa mga email ko sa kanila ukol sa Contract To Sell until I sent them yong withdrawal letter ko. I ask them to refund my money na nai-hulog ko na but NSJBI said di ko raw makukuha. Bakit ganito. Is there anybody who can help me to get my money back from NSJBI? Sana may tumulong sa akin.

    Maraming salamat po.

    • Charmaine May Quizon

      Hi, matagal sila sumagot. I got full refund at nasa process na ako ng getting the money PERO hindi sila nag inform na un cheque i-didivide nila sa 6 mnths.. At hnd every month mag rerelease sila. Mag 2 yrs na ako nag aantay last february lang sila nag bigay ng unang cheque. Alam ko sabi ng kilala ko may mga bldg sila na walang permit to sell.. Sa Victoria de makati din ako kumuha.