Some of the main legislations are as follows:

• Land (Restriction on Alienation) Act No. 38 of 2014
• Apartment Ownership Law No. 11 of 1973, as amended
• Ceiling on Housing and Property Law
• Prevention of Frauds Ordinance
• Registration of Documents Ordinance
• Stamp Duty Act
• Land Reform Law
• Registration of Title Act No. 21 of 1998

Subject to the restrictions on the transfer of land under the Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Act (‘the Land Act’), property can be owned either by the state, by private individuals or by corporate entities. In respect of private land, ownership is obtained by the execution of deeds of transfer or gifts in the presence of a notary public and two witnesses, in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Frauds Ordinance.

All other transactions in respect of land, such as leases,mortgages and other dispositions, should also comply with the provisions of the Prevention of Frauds Ordinance. Accordingly, such documents would have to be executed before a notary public and two witnesses. The executed instrument would have to be registered under the provisions of the Registration of Documents Ordinance. In Sri Lanka, registration under the Registration of Documents Ordinance is not a prerequisite to confer validity on such deeds, but only provides priority. The document is valid upon execution and notarization of same.

The government has also enacted the Registration of Title Act No.21 of 1998, which is not in operation in full throughout the island as yet. Under this Act, registration of title has been introduced in pursuance of which once the certificate of title has been registered; such registration would be proof of the ownership of the land in respect of which such title has been granted.