What is a Deed of Assignment
In Malaysia, we have the Torrens System in respect of our Land Law. Modelled just like the system used in Australia, immovable properties are issued Documents of Title (some call them “Grants”) to prove ownership of such properties. It is just like the Registration Card for motor vehicles which endorses the ownership of the vehicle. Now, what happens when the property – say, a newly constructed landed house or apartment, has not been issued the relevant Document of Title? This may happen because when a developer develops a piece of land, the developer usually has not submitted an application to the Land Office to carve out the piece of land into individual lots. This is where a Deed of Assignment comes into place.
A Deed of Assignment is a document or agreement which an assignor (the transferor) states his promise that from the date of the assignment or any date stipulated therein, the assignor assigns his ownership in that property to the assignee (transferee). A simple illustration would be when the developer signs a Deed of Assignment to transfer their ownership of that piece of property to the purchaser. When that purchaser decides to sell that property to a subsequent purchaser and the Document of Title has yet to be issued, the purchaser will sign a Deed of Assignment assigning his rights under the original Deed of Assignment to the subsequent purchaser. This will go on until the Document of Title is issued.
The Deed of Assignment stipulates what kind of rights have been assigned and usually in the case of sale and purchase of immovable property, full rights are assigned. It also documents the flow of ownership from owner to purchaser and subsequent purchasers where applicable. So, if a property has changed hands, say 10 times, the Deed of Assignment in the hands of the 10th owner would have a recital (usually on the 1st page) which talks about the history of this property changing hands from A to B to C and so forth till the current owner.
It goes without saying therefore that the Deed of Assignment is a very important document which should be kept in a safe and secure place. When the Document of Title is issued, you will need it to prove that you are the current owner and that you have the full rights to have the ownership transferred from the original owner (as shown on the Document of Title) directly to you, as the current owner.