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Government Land Acquisition

by Kemore Trowers
(Portmore jamaica)

Hello good day. I am trying to understand how to go about acquiring land owned by the government. The land is undeveloped in the Portmore area, currently occupied by a large bush. I am sure it has no owner. I would like to acquire this land for commercial purposes. How do I go about that?

RESPONSE: by Deon Clarke

Hello Kemore,

You know, I saw your question and thought, how ironic? Usually, it’s the Government that is trying to acquire land from people for one reason or the other! It’s great to know that you would like to use this for commercial purposes as well. This would no doubt add to the uplifting of the community and increase job creation. I will be happy to assist you with this question today.

Who Owns the Land?

First of all, we need to determine who owns the land. You said you are sure it has no owner, which would mean then, that it belongs to the Government automatically. This search should take you to the National Land Agency (NLA). Here you should be able to find details on the land such as survey information, valuation report, the landowner(s), the size of the land and so on.

If a title exists for the land, meaning that it has an owner other than the Government, then I suppose you would have to make contact to negotiate a deal. However, if the Government is in fact the owner of the land, there is actually an application form available at the National Land Agency to be completed for the acquisition of Government land, whether it is for purchase or lease. This can be done through the Estate Management Division of the NLA who manages lands owned by the Commissioner of Lands. The Division is responsible for the divestment of lands (lease or sale), the acquisition of lands required for public uses and also the management of land settlement schemes.

What are the Steps to Follow?

Here are six (6) steps that are to be followed for this kind of acquisition:

  1. Research and Identification of the Land/Parcel

    As mentioned before do some research to get the details of the property. The application form requires the location of the property, area or size of the land, proposed used by the applicant.

  2. Complete Relevant Forms and Provide Supporting Information or Documents

    Submit the relevant application form at the NLA along with any other required supporting documents. The application can be collected from the NLA and is also available online.

  3. Submit your completed Application

    Once you have completed, signed and/or certified where required on the application form, you will need to visit the NLA to submit it. Please see details below:

    Estate Management Division
    20 North Street
    Tel: (876) 750-5263
    Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
    Friday: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

    You will also be required to produce an original valid government-issued identification being considered as the principal director and/or the person declaring the accuracy of the form(s).

  4. What happens once I have made my submission?

    Once your application is received, the NLA will take the following steps:

    • Assess your application
    • Conduct a "due diligence" research on the property including:
      -A Site Visit
      -Obtain a 'no objection letter if the land is being held by the NLA for another GOJ Ministry, Department or Agency(MDA)
      -Obtain comments from regulatory agencies - for example, NEPA, the Municipal Councils, etc.

  5. Payment of The Relevant Processing Fees

    There are absolutely no fees associated with the submission of your application to purchase or lease Government (Crown Lands). The processing times for both Leases and Purchases of land are twenty(20) weeks from the submission of your application.

  6. Collect Your Approved Documents

Once the NLA is satisfied that everything is in order, then they will issue an Agreement for your signature. You will be required to visit the NLA to collect your copy of the final executed Agreement, which would now be legally binding on all parties concerned. At the end of the process, you would have received your executed Lease Agreement or Sales Agreement.

So Kemore, as you can see, this may be a lengthy process but it could be just as rewarding especially with the plans you have in store. I wish you all the best in your endeavours and I hope things work out in your favour. Do let us know how it all works out!

I also recommend you read How To Find The Owner Of Land In Jamaica.



  • “Estate Management”, National Land Agency
  • “Acquire NLA Land”, Government of Jamaica,,

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