Residents looking to buy property a couple of months down the line, may be able to pay a fee online, and get the required encumbrance certificate (EC) as a PDF file on their email.

An EC is necessary to buy property or avail of a housing loan. It is also required if one has to produce a solvency certificate

Tenders have been floated for the creation of a software that will enable this, and it is likely to be ready in about two months. The State government has already approved 11 banks for the payment of fees through net banking.

The initiative is aimed at simplifying the process of obtaining an EC.

“At present, residents can apply for an EC online, on the website www.tnreginet.net. After the application has been given in, the certificate has to be collected in person from the sub-registrar’s office or is sent by post. But the postal option, where payment has to be made through value payable post after delivery, is not very popular,” an official said.

Recently, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s made an announcement in the Assembly stating that property-owners will soon be able to view their certificates of encumbrance on property, online.

Sources in the registration department said this would be possible for free, once the system goes online. The software for free viewing is being developed in-house.

While it does not cost much to get an EC certificate, residents say the procedure is a hassle.

“I have been waiting for over a month for an EC at the Sriperumbudur sub-registrar office, as I need to avail of a bank loan,” said K. Murthy, a resident of Poonamallee.

For the first year, the certificate costs Rs. 15, and it is Rs. 5 for each subsequent year.

A computer fee of Rs. 100 is charged online, as well as a Re. 1 application fee, which can be paid in cash. However, if the site crashes at any sub-registrar’s office, there is a long delay and applicants are forced to wait.

The registration department has put up data up to 1987 on its servers, and now only needs to make it available online. Since banks require ECs of up to 30 years, many residents apply for these documents.

Officials said data from 1986 to 1975 was being entered into the systems, and is expected to be completed in six months.

The Chief Minister had also announced that copy documents (documents that are copies of deeds or transactions that deal with property) from 1864 that are stored sub-registrar offices would be microfilmed and digitalised.

“This is also required for property verification. At present, for residents to obtain certified copies of original documents, they have to pay computer fees of Rs. 100 and Rs. 10 per page for every year until 1987,” the official explained.

T. Raghu, a real estate consultant and resident of Mylapore, said that to get copy documents prior to 1987 it takes up to a month or more even.

“I have to beg and cajole the staff to get me the copies. At times they ask me to come after 10 days but when I go, they tell me to come back again,” he said.

He added that the move to make the documents available online was welcome. “It will be of immense help to lakhs of property owners and real estate consultants,” he said.

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