How to apply for land title in Jamaica
Prime Lands In Jamaica
Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
Land is an asset. Land requires relatively low maintenance. You can build on the land. You can plant crops. Land can be left as an inheritance for your family, and of course, the value of land usually appreciates over time.
But, did you know that while many Jamaicans may occupy land, they don’t own a Registered Title? No joke!
In fact, approximately 55% of land in Jamaica are unregistered!
As such, squatting and “capture land” have been popular ways individuals have garnered a piece of earthly wealth. But clearly, this is not the best approach.
Benefits Of Having A Registered Title
There are clear benefits of having a Registered Title.
- Firstly, a Registered Title gives an official record of who owns the land.
- If the land owner wishes to sell the property, showing the prospective buyer the Register Title reassures that he/she is the true owner.
- Registered Title can be used as security for business transactions, including a loan.
- Property owners that register land will be given an official plan of the land, which can help to prevent encroachment.
How To Obtain A Registered Land Title
You know the benefits but how does one go about obtaining their land title?
Land Titling Services is administered by The National Land Agency, located at 93 Hanover Street, Kingston.
In order to obtain your land title, you will need to complete and submit a list of documents to the Registrar of Titles.
- Signed application form stipulated by the Registration of Titles Act.
- A Statutory Declaration, which is a written statement confirmed by oath, to show ownership.
- Two statutory declarations from two persons who have known the land for at least 30 years.
- An up-to-date certificate of payment of Property Tax.
- If the land has been registered by plan, then a pre-checked Survey diagram must be submitted.
- Other documents such as: Receipts, Conveyance, Certificates of Compliance under the Facilities for Titles Act etc.; that may prove ownership.
- Another important point noted by the National Land Agency is that
“Applications otherwise than by Plan must describe the land so as to enable identification of the location of the parcel on the ground by reference to a land mark and must state the names by which the property is known.
The description must state the distances along each boundary and the compass direction of each boundary line, the names of the abutting properties, the names of adjoining owners, and where the abutting land is registered land, the title reference for the property”.
Note however that each case is unique, and in some cases, more documents may be needed. In addition, it is often advised that persons seeking to register land should seek the assistance of a lawyer.
Once you submit all the required documents, you will pay a registration fee to the assessor at the Titles Office and you will be issued a receipt.
The receipt will indicate the person lodging the application and an application number will be stamped on this receipt. This number will be used if you have any queries about your application.
What Happens After Submitting Your Application?
- Documents that you submitted will be checked.
- The survey diagram will be sent to the Survey Department. Here the survey diagram is checked to see that the land is not yet registered and the plan is acceptable.
- Documents are then submitted to the Referee of Titles for consideration.
- Once the Referee of Titles approves the application, you will be sent a Notice. You must have this Notice published in a particular newspaper for a period decided by the Referee of Titles.
- The Certificate of Title will be prepared after you take the newspaper pages with the publication of the Notice and, once there is no caveats against the application.
- It will be issued seven weeks after the first appearance of the ad in the newspaper.
I agree, the process might take some time, but remember all the rewarding benefits that comes with having your land title in your hands.
And as stated before, it is recommended that you solicit the services of a property lawyer to make it easier for you.
For more information, visit The National Land Agency website at www.nla.gov.jm
for more information.
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