Jamaica

Registering Property in

Jamaica

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Jamaica. 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 2014.

This year, Doing Business has collected new data in 170 economies on the overall quality of land administration systems through a set of indicators on reliability, transparency, coverage and dispute resolution. The new data is available under the “Methodology Expansion” tab, below. The data are preliminary and do not have any impact on the Ease of Doing Business 2015 rankings. This data may differ from what will be published in Doing Business 2016.

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  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property value: JMD 25,322,386.6
  • City: Kingston
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Title search at the National Land Agency
Agency: National Land Agency

Perform a caveat search and title search at the National Land Agency. This title search can be done electronically by the lawyer (for an additional fee) and the cost, by law, is born by the purchaser (Conveyancing Act). The caveat search can now be done online at https://www.elandjamaica.gov.jm
Less than one day (online procedure; simultaneous with procedure 2) JMD 1,000
* 2 Verification that the Company is properly registered with the Registrar of Companies
Agency: Registrar of Companies

As of April 1, 2010 the attorney-at-law will submit to the Land Registry a sworn affidavit (standard form) that the company is property registered at the Company registry instead of submitting the Company registry certificate. It is possible to verify if the company is active in http://www.orcjamaica.com/search/viewdocumentsplus.asp
Less than one day (online procedure; simultaneous with procedure 1) JMD 1,000
3 Assessment of tax and duties at the Government Stamp Office
Agency: Tax Administration Jamaica

A signed sale purchase agreement is sent for assessment of duties at the Tax Payer Audit & Assessment Department of the National Tax Authority. The documents must have a properly completed Stamping Requisition Form (Form1 – Regulation 3) and Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) for the applicant and all parties to the transaction.
27 days no cost
4 Attorney witnesses the transfer instrument
Agency: Attorneys' Office

The transfer instrument needs to be witnessed, according to section 152 of the Registration of Title Act (Attestation of Instrument), by any of the following: the Governor-General, any of the Judges of the Supreme Court, or any Justice of the Peace, or the Registrar under this Act, or a Notary Public, or a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. The instrument of transfer must be witnessed prior to submitting the document to cross stamping, and before submitting for registration at the Land Registry. The Act lists several functionaries including the Justice of the Peace and Attorney of Law and Notary Public. The Notary Public charges a fee but the Justice of Peace does not charge a fee. A notary will charge around 50 USD for this operation. If a lawyer is involved in the entire process, he can act as a witness.
1 day 50 USD
5 Tax and duties are paid at the National Tax authority and the transfer instrument is crossed-stamp
Agency: National Tax Authority

Payments of Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax may be paid using Cash/Certified Manager’s Cheque/Debit or Credit Card/Letter of Undertaking or Bank Guarantee. Once all payments are made, the Transfer Instrument is prepared and witnessed, in accordance to Article 152 of the Registration of Title Act. This Transfer Instrument is then sent for cross-stamping to the Stamp Office. The stamped agreement of sale needs to be attached as a proof of payment to the instrument of transfer. Cross stamping is important as the Titles office will not accept the Transfer Instrument unless it is cross stamped. http://www.jamaicatax.gov.jm/home_template.php?page=StampDutyAndTransferTax#Assess_Collect
5 days 5% of property price (Transfer Tax) + 4% of property price (Stamp Duty)
6 Apply for registration at the Registrar of Titles
Agency: Registrar of Titles/National Land Agency, Land Title Division

The buyer applies for registration of the title under his name at the Title Office, which falls under the National Land Agency. The registration fee is fixed by law at 0.5% of the property value and it is paid at the National Land Agency. Once the transfer is completed then the utility companies must be advised of the change in owners so that they can enter into new contractual arrangements with the new owner. Letters for the National Water Commission (water) and Jamaica Public Service Ltd (electricity); the letter of possession; and the Tax Registration form are prepared by the parties who also share the cost equally. The purchaser at the end of the day is given all these letters along with his title to the property for him to deliver these letters at his leisure. If the valuation number to the property is added to the transfer document then the tax roll is then amended automatically. There is an expedited procedure to be completed in 48 hs for simple transfers of previously registered properties, when there are no mortgages attached. The documentation shall include: (i) Instrument of Transfer (ii) Duplicate Certificate of Title Please note that Jamaica has two registries: i) Registrar of Titles/National Land Title Division --deals with properties that are bought under the Registration of Titles Act. ii) The Registrar General Department deals with properties that do not have a registered title (NOT the DB case study).
7 days (regular) or 2 days (for simple transfers only-no mortgages attached, at no extra cost) 0.5% of property value (registration fee)
  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.
Answer
Reliability/Land Registry
Are the records held in a paper format or in a computerized format? If they are computerized, are they scanned documents or fully digital documents? Computer/Scanned
Is there an electronic database for checking for encumbrances (liens, mortgages, etc.)? Yes
Reliability/Cadastre
Are the maps held in a paper format or in a computerized format? If they are computerized, are they scanned documents or fully digital documents? Computer/Fully Digital
Is there an electronic database to record property boundaries, check maps and provide cadastral information (Geographic Information System)? Yes
Reliability/Interconnection
Are the land registration agency and cadastre unified in one system under one agency, or is there a dual system of separate land registry and cadastre agency? If the latter, are the land registration agency and cadastre linked? Not available
Do the land registration agency and cadastre use the same identification number to search for properties? Yes
Transparency/Land Registry
Who is able to consult titles/deeds at the land registration agency? Please select all that apply Anyone;Interested parties;Professional agents;Officials;
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply In person;Online;
If online, please provide the link https://www.elandjamaica.gov.jm/eland/jsp/index.jsp
Is the list of documents required to complete any type of property transaction made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.nla.gov.jm/forms_landtitles.asp
Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the land registration agency made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.nla.gov.jm/pricelist/fee_general.asp
Does the land registration agency provide service standards for any property transaction (e.g. 5 working days for a transfer)?Please select all that apply In person;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.nla.gov.jm/
Are there official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the land registration agency? Yes
If yes, are they made available to the public? No
What is the source of these statistics? National Land Agency
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? Yes
Please provide the contact information Customer Service 750-LAND (5263), 946-LAND (5263)
Transparency/Cadastre
Who is able to consult maps/surveys? Please select all that apply Anyone
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply In person;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.nla.gov.jm/map.asp
Is the applicable fee schedule to get access to maps and surveys made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.nla.gov.jm/pricelist/fee_general.asp
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? Yes
Please provide the contact information Customer Service 750-LAND (5263), 946-LAND (5263)
Coverage/Land Registry
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country formally registered at the land registry? No
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city formally registered at the land registry? No
Coverage/Cadastre
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country mapped? No
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city mapped? No
Disputes/Legal Background
Does the law require that all property sale transactions be registered at the land registry to make them opposable to third parties? Yes
What is the legal basis? Registration of Titles Act 1889, Section 26-27
Is the system of property transfer and land registration guaranteed by the state? Yes
What is the legal basis? Registration of Titles Act 1889, Section 26-27
Is there any compensation mechanism to cover for losses incurred by parties who engaged in good faith in a property transaction based on erroneous information certified by the land registry? Yes
What is the legal basis? Registration of Titles Act 1889, section 165 (Assurance Fund)
Who is held responsible for verifying the identity of the parties to a property transfer? Please select all that apply Lawyer;Interested parties
What is the legal basis?
Dispute Resolution
Does the law provide for specific mediation procedures for land disputes? No
If yes, what is the legal basis?
Does the law provide for any specific land dispute resolution mechanisms? No
If yes, what is the legal basis?
How long does it take on average to obtain a decision in a standard land dispute over a property transfer between two domestic businesses in the first instance? 3 years +
Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? No
What is the source of these statistics?

  Please send any comments and inputs on the data above to rru@worldbank.org

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