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.

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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.

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