Belize

Registering Property in

Belize

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Belize. It assumes a standardized case of an entrepreneur who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2013.

Compare Belize to 188 other economies.

  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property Value: BZD 417,922.9
  • City: Belize City
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Conduct a title search of the property records at the Lands Department

A title search is carried out over the past 25 years concerning the history of the property to check that the property does not have any liens or outstanding taxes. This title search is a legal requirement for property transfers in Belize.
Agency: Department of Lands and Survey Office
1 day 100 BZD
* 2 Obtain tax clearance from the Lands Tax Department

Tax receipts up to the current fiscal year are obtained at the Lands Tax Department. If the property is to be transferred before the fiscal year ends, the seller may pay the property taxes up through that date, and then the buyer agrees to reimburse the seller—either through the sale price or aside.
Agency: Lands Tax Department
1 day (simultaneous with procedure 3) no cost
* 3 Tax clearance stamped on the transfer instrument

Tax clearance is proven twice: first with receipts, and secondly with a stamp from the Lands Tax Department on the actual transfer instrument.
Agency: Lands Tax Department
5 - 10 days (simultaneous with procedure 2) no cost
4 Property is valued by the Valuation Department

The Valuation Department determines if the sale price in the transfer instrument is at least the true value of the property, according to its assessment. The Valuation Department assess based on actual rental value, and any factor having influence on this such as: location, condition of the building, type and size, architectural design, parking area, garage or other buildings on the property. The valuation process may consist of checking the value listed in the valuation ‘Roll’, and/or physically inspecting the property. The Valuation Department will issue a receipt stating how much they have assessed, which is presented at the time of payment of stamp duty.
Agency: Valuation Department
10-30 days no cost
5 Justice of the Peace attests the transfer instrument

The Government makes a transfer form available online at http://www.belize.gov.bz/public/Attachment/812231193171.pdf).
The form has to be either notarized (for a fee) or attested by a Justice of the Peace. Most people choose the latter option as it is free of charge. The Justice of Peace will check the identity certificates of the buyer and the seller before signing the transfer form.
Agency: Justice of the Peace
1 day no cost
6 Pay registration fees and stamp duty

Registration fees and stamp duty are paid to the cashier at the Lands Registry. To pay stamp duty, the receipt obtained from the valuation department (procedure 4) is presented and 5% of the assessed value after the first BZD 20000 is charged.
Agency: Lands Registry
1 - 2 days 15 BZD x 2 (for land certificate and registration) + 5% (property value after the first BD 20000) (stamp duty)
7 Register the transfer at the Lands Registry

There are three systems of land registration operating in Belize:
• The property under study by Doing Business is located in Belize City and is most likely under the Registered Land Act, whereby transfers occur by Land Certificate. In this case, the land certificate would need to be transferred at the Lands Registry in Belmopan, and would take about 3 – 4 weeks to process and receive a new certificate.
The documentation required in this case is:
-Receipts of payment of registration fees and stamp duty;
-Transfer instrument; and
-Proof of identification of the parties.
• Other properties may be under ‘deed of conveyance’ or ‘certificate of title’, in which case the transfer process would be slightly different.



Agency: Lands Registry
21 - 30 days (paid in procedure 6)
8 Notify City Council of change in ownership

The City Council updates the property tax records to reflect the new ownership. Since 2007, with the introduction of the "Land Folio" system, changes in the Land Registry are automatically communicated to the City Council. However, the new owner still has to go to the City Council to register the property transfer.
Agency: City Council
1 - 2 days no cost
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

Explore Economy Data


- OR -

OTHER OPTIONS