Encumbrance certificate: All you wanted to know

An encumbrance certificate is basically a legal document that clarifies whether or not a particular property is free from legal or financial burdens

An encumbrance certificate is among the many documents that home buyers would find most crucial, to complete their purchase. Considering that an encumbrance certificate, more commonly known as the EC, is an important piece of paper to ensure legal ownership over a property, buyers must know everything about it.

See also: All about Andhra Pradesh IGRS EC


What is an encumbrance certificate? 

An encumbrance certificate states whether a property is free/not free from any legal or financial liabilities. A property on which the owner is currently paying a home loan, for example, has a financial encumbrance and getting a nil-encumbrance certificate for such a property would not be possible till the loan is fully repaid. Similarly, for a property that is caught in a legal dispute, the municipal body will issue an encumbrance certificate, stating the liabilities.

Read out guide tnreginet ec view guide to apply online encumbrance certificate in Tamil Nadu.


Encumbrance certificate importance 

An encumbrance certificate is a legal document that clarifies whether or not a particular property is free from legal or financial burdens. An encumbrance certificate would, for instance, show you if it has been pledged by the seller to a bank. This encumbrance certificate would also show who the current owner is, and how many hands the property has changed since it first came into being. Once you receive this an encumbrance certificate , you would know you are dealing with a genuine seller and the property is not in any bind, legally or financially.



The Encumbrance Certificate would reflect the legal and financial associations of the property – if the owner has taken a loan against it, the certificate would show the same. If the property is caught in any legal tussle, the EC should reflect the same. In Hindi, the encumbrance certificate is known as bhar-mukt praman.

Encumbrance certificate: Answers to many questions

An encumbrance certificate can provide answers to many queries that a home buyer can have. These include:

  • How to make sure the property you are buying is not pledged by the seller to a bank?
  • Is the person selling you the property actually its legal owner?
  • Do you know how many hands the property you are buying has changed since its construction?
  • How do I find out if the property that I am buying, is free of debts?
  • What if the previous owner has taken a debt against a property?
  • What if someone else has acquired this property, without the knowledge of the owner?


Details in encumbrance certificate

An encumbrance certificate is prepared for a specific time-frame and provides a list of all registered transactions related to the property in question. Suppose the time frame mentioned in the EC is 2000 and 2010. In this case, the EC would show details of how many times it has changed hands. The EC will also show if any loans were taken against this property. It would also have the record of any legal claims that might have been made over the property during this period. Even though one can get an encumbrance certificate of a property for up to a period of 30 years, you will get the details only for that period and not more, if you are asking an EC for a particular period.

See also: All about Telangana EC Search

How is EC different from OC and CC?

An encumbrance certificate is entirely different from an occupancy certificate (OC) or a completion certificate (CC). While the OC certifies that a building is for habitation by the residents, the CC is an official statement that the structure has been created in compliance with the rules.

A CC attests the fact that the building has been constructed by following the safety norms provided in the prevalent building code. The CC also acts as a proof that the building has been approved by the local authority or the municipal corporation or the directorate of town and country planning. Also, a provisional CC is provided when builders have to hand over units to the buyers, while some work is still pending.

See also: Everything about Tamil Nadu ec online

Difference between EC, completion certificate (CC) and occupancy certificate (OC)

Buyers must be mindful of the fact that these three documents, which are crucial for property purchase, serve varying purposes and one must not be confused with another. While a CC is issued by the local authority to a builder after the completion of a building in compliance with the building plan and other regulations, the local authorities issue an OC stating their lack of objection in allowing the possession of the project. The EC as explained earlier, is neither of the two documents.


When is encumbrance certificate needed?

By and large, you would require an encumbrance certificate in the following circumstances:

EC for flats

When you are buying a property, non encumbrance certificate is a must document to ensure you are dealing with the real owner, and there are no pending loans against the property.

EC for home loans

When you are taking a home loan to buy a property, banks typically ask for the encumbrance certificate before accepting your home loan application.

EC for PF withdrawal

When you withdraw money from your provident fund to buy a house, your employer would ask for the EC if you are withdrawing money from your provident fund to make the upfront payment for your property purchase.

EC for property mutation

After buying a property, the owner has to get the ownership transfer recorded in the government record by way of property mutation.

EC for flat sale

When you are selling a property, the seller has to apply and get the document out from the government record to show it to the buyer.

When do you need an encumbrance certificate?

  • When buying property
  • When selling property
  • When applying for home loan
  • When withdrawing PF to buy property


Which authority issues non encumbrance certificate?

The sub-registrar in whose jurisdiction the unit exists issues the encumbrance certificate for the property. Basically, this is the office where the property was registered at the time of the purchase by the current and previous owners.


What details are mentioned in encumbrance certificate?

An encumbrance certificate issued by the sub-registrar’s office has all the details of the property, its owner, transfer of ownership, mortgages, etc.


What is nil-encumbrance certificate?

A nil-encumbrance certificate is issued by the sub-registrar’s office for a property which has not seen any transaction in the period for which an encumbrance certificate has been sought by the applicant. A nil-encumbrance certificate is issued in Form 16.

What are the documents needed to get encumbrance certificate?

And applicant will have to provide the documents below to apply for an EC:

  • His address proof
  • His signature
  • Details of the property for which he is seeking an EC
  • A copy of the deed if a deed has been created for the property


Types of encumbrance certificates 

Encumbrance certificates have two types:

Form 15: If a property has any encumbrances during the period for which the applicant has sought a certificate, the sub-registrar’s office issues an encumbrance certificate on Form 15.

Form 16: If a property has not registered any encumbrances during the period for which the applicant has sought a certificate, the sub-registrar’s office issues a nil-encumbrance certificate on Form 16.


What are the details mentioned in Form 15?

Typically, Forms 15 will contain each piece of information pertaining to inheritance, sale, purchase, lease, mortgage, gifting, relinquishment, partition of the property in question.


Which are the states that issue encumbrance certificate online?

Barring a few states, encumbrance certificates in India are mostly issued physically. States that issue encumbrance certificates online are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.


How to get EC online?

In many states, one can apply for EC online. Listed below are the websites addressed of those states that provide EC online.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Andhra Pradesh.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Odisha.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Kerala.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Puducherry.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Tamil Nadu.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Telangana.

Apply online for encumbrance certificate in Uttar Pradesh.

How to apply for encumbrance certificate?

In states where ECs are not issued online, the applicant will have to visit the sub-registrar’s office where the property in question is registered. Write an application on a plain paper, clearly mentioning the information you seek, and submit it along with duly filled Form 22. You will have to pay a nominal fee along with your application to get the EC. The fee would vary, depending on the period for which the EC is sought.

What is an encumbrance certificate?


What is the process to apply for encumbrance certificate online?

To get online encumbrance certificates, the applicant follow this step-by step guide. Do note here that the service is available only in a few states.

For a clearer understanding, you will show here how to apply online for EC in Telangana.

Step 1: Go to the official website Meeseva portal.

Step 2: Click on the 3rd tab that appears on top of the page, Government Forms.

Step 3: Scroll down the page that appears. You will find the Application form of Encumbrance Certificate under the head Stamps and Registration. Download the form and fill the required information. Attach the necessary documents along with the form.

Step 4: Find out the nearest Meeseva centre, and submit your application there along with the required fee.

Step 5: After the submission, you will be issued an acknowledgement slip.

Step 6: After verification, you application will be sent to the sub-registrar’s office, which is responsible to carry out a physical inspection of the property before issuing an encumbrance certificate.

Step 7: While you would get updates on the progress of your application through SMSs from the Meeseva portal, you could also track the status on this portal.

Step 8: It takes 6 working days for the sub-registrar’s office to issue the EC.


How to get a non-encumbrance certificate online in UP?

Here is a step-by-step process to apply for online non-encumbrance certificate in UP:

Step 1: Visit the IGRS UP portal, the official website of the UP revenue department and click on ‘आवेदन करे’ under the ‘भारमुक्त प्रमाणपत्र /बारह साला’ section. भारमुक्त प्रमाणपत्र is the Hindi for non-encumbrance certificate.

Step 2: You will now be asked to provide personal details including your name, your father’s name, your mobile number, the address of the property, tehsil, district, etc. After this, enter the captcha and submit your details. This will ensure your registration

Step 3: You will now receive your registration number and password on your mobile.

Step 4: Now, click on the ‘online payment’ option below the receipt and ‘Proceed with Net Payment’ option to pay Rs 100 registration fee. Once this process is complete, you will get a non-encumbrance certificate in a week’s time. You will have to collect this document in person from the sub-registrar’s office by giving your receipt number.

Step 5: Go to the IGRS portal again and click on the ‘प्रमाण पत्र प्राप्ति/सत्यापन करें‘ option under ‘भारमुक्त प्रमाणपत्र /बारह साला’. Enter your name and receipt number to view your non-encumbrance certificate online.

See also: All you need to know about IGRSUP

What is the format for owners to apply for encumbrance certificate for their property?

Property owners have to follow a standard performa while applying for an EC. If you are a property owner applying for an EC in Delhi, click here to find the encumbrance certificate application format.


What is the fee to get encumbrance certificate?

There is only a nominal fee – charges vary from state to state and may range between Rs 200 and Rs 500 – that an applicant has to pay to get an EC. Charges might, however, vary depending on the period for which you are seeking information.


How to pay for online encumbrance certificate?

When you apply online for an encumbrance certificate you can use various mediums to make the payment. These include payment from debit or credit cards, e-wallets, internet banking, NEFT and RGTS, etc.


How much time does it take to get encumbrance certificate?

While it might take between 15 and 30 days to get an EC offline, the document is issued in matter of 6 to 7 days in states where the certificate is issued online. In Delhi, for instance, it takes 21 days to get an EC offline.


What is the period for which encumbrance certificate can be taken?

An encumbrance certificate could be taken for a period ranking between 12 and 30 years.


Why taking an encumbrance certificate is important?

The encumbrance certificate is among the many documents that establish that a property is or is not free from legal/monetary hassles. Buyers must demand the sellers show this document before they make a decision to purchase a property.


Is EC enough to make sure property is hassle free?

While an EC is a crucial document that helps buyers get the information they need with regard to a property’s legal/financial position, a buyer must be mindful of the fact that not all the information and change of hand of a property might be registered in government records. This is to say, the government will be able to provide though EC only that information which it has received from the owner by way of registration. If a transaction is not carried out personally without proper registration, the EC issued by the Sub-Registrar’s Office would obviously not reflect that information.

See also: All you need to know about Punjab land records

Why keeping an eye on the EC is important?

After he found out that his Chennai property was being encroached upon in 2020, Bangalore-based K Natesan got to know about the nature of the fraud through the encumbrance certificate. Three men, who were arrested in March 2021 for the offence, had grabbed his 2,400-sq ft land parcel, valued at Rs 1 crore and transferred the title to one Yesudas, through a settlement deed. This makes it evident why checking the EC is not a one-time job. One needs to keep an eye for any changes in it, as well.


Word of caution

Aside from making sure that the EC is made available by the seller, the buyer must also apply due diligence and make personal checks, to ensure that the said property is free from any encumbrance. While the documentary proof does act as a safety net, land-related frauds, especially in plot sales in rural areas, are quite common. Unfortunately, such buyers are also not able to move the RERA as these transactions do not fall under the purview of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.

See also: All you need to know about Dharitree


Do I need EC for plot purchase?

Yes, a buyer should seek encumbrance certificate whether he is buying a plot of a residential building such as flat, apartment, etc.

Do I need EC for flat purchase?

Yes, a buyer should seek encumbrance certificate whether he is buying a plot of a residential building such as flat, apartment, etc.

What is Form 22?

Form 22 is the standard performa used to apply for an encumbrance certificate.

How can I get encumbrance certificate online?

In majority of states, applicants have to visit the sub-registrar’s office.


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