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Registering Property in

Liberia

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Liberia. 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 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Liberia to 189 other economies.

  • Measure of efficiency
    No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
    1

    Obtain a Transfer deed form

    Agency: Shop

    The parties obtain a Transfer deed form to provide to the surveyor who will be conducting the survey of that property. At that time, the seller will also provide a copy of his deed to the new owner. The transfer deed can be obtained in shops.

    1 day USD 4
    2

    Buyer contacts a surveyor to conduct the survey of the property

    Agency: Private licensed surveyor

    One of the requirements prior to transferring a property in Liberia is to conduct a survey of that property by a licensed surveyor. The potential buyer will contact a certified surveyor to conduct the survey of the property to be transferred. The property cannot be surveyed during the notice period. Any person wishing to introduce a claim of ownership on that property must come forward during the notice period. If there are no disputes recorded after the notice period, then the surveyor will conduct the survey of the property with the potential buyer as a witness, and anyone else who wishes to be present.

    21 days (simultaneous with Procedure 3) USD 50
    * 3

    Publication of survey in newspaper and radio by surveyor

    Agency: Newspaper/radio

    By law, the surveyor must inform the public that the survey or re-survey of a particular property will be conducted on a set date. The notice will also provide the location of that property. The notice is published in local newspapers and is also aired for a period of 15 days. But the law is silent as to the length of this notice.

    1 day (simultaneous with Procedure 2) included in Procedure 2
    4

    Parties contract a lawyer to start official transfer process

    Agency: Lawyer

    The parties give the lawyer the deed on which the sketch of the property has been done by the licensed surveyor. The transfer process will then start.

    2 days 10 - 15% property value
    5

    Lawyer visits Registry to check the status and ownership of the property

    Agency: Center for National Documents & Records / National Archives (CNDRA)

    The records are kept in ledgers and the search for ownership is done manually by checking the ledgers. An application for search for Deeds/Titles document is completed. It takes a week for CNDRA to search for the deeds. CNDRA will contact MOFA in case they do not have the entire file.

    4 days 25 USD (2117 LB$)
    6

    Lawyer visits Bureau of Internal Revenue of the Ministry of Finance (Real Estate Division) to check for outstanding taxes on the property

    Agency: Bureau of Internal Revenue at the Ministry of Finance

    Bureau of Internal Revenue (Real Estate Tax Division) at the Ministry of Finance Comments: The Real Estate Tax division will issue an official Tax Receipt evidencing that all delinquent real property taxes have been paid in full. This Tax Receipt is mandatory, as of June 1st, 2009 in order to have the deed probated at the Probate Court.

    3 days no cost
    7

    Parties sign the deed form at the lawyer's office

    Agency: Lawyer

    Once all verifications are done by the lawyer to ensure that the property is free of all encumbrances and established the rightful ownership of the property, both parties can now sign the deed, which will be probated at the Probate Court. The deed must have a vivid description of the building.

    1 day no cost
    8

    Lawyer visits Probate Court to request the transfer

    Agency: Probate Court

    The lawyer visits the Probate Court to request the transfer (1 business day). The Court will then publish a notice of the transaction for 4 business days. If there are no objections, on the fifth business day, the lawyer can pick up the deed with the seal of approval from the Court. The Probate court rules state that only lawyers are allowed to submit the deed for probate.

    7 days no cost
    9

    Parties register the deed at the Registry

    Agency: Land Registry

    The buyer will complete the Registration Form for Deeds and Titles Documents. A bill form will be provided at that time and payment is made at the MOF.
    Documents to be provided at time of registration:

    1. A copy of the Real Estate Tax receipt (obtained in procedure 5)
    2. Flag receipt from the Ministry of Finance as proof of payment
    3. Original and Two copies of Bill form
    4. Probated Deed

    4 days 15 USD (1,050 LD$)
    10

    Seller goes to Bureau of Internal Revenues to change the owner’s name on the property

    Agency: Bureau of Internal Revenues

    The parties will change the ownership name at the Bureau of Internal Revenues. It is in the interest of the seller to ensure that the name is changed so that the new owner is responsible for future taxes.

    1 day no cost

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Quality of the land administration index (0-30) 5.0
    Reliability of infrastructure index (0-8) 1.0
    What is the institution in charge of immovable property registration? CENDRA
    In what format are the majority of title or deed records kept in the largest business city—in a paper format or in a computerized format (scanned or fully digital)? Computer/Scanned 1.0
    Is there an electronic database for checking for encumbrances (liens, mortgages, restrictions and the like)? No 0.0
    In what format are the majority of maps of land plots kept in the largest business city—in a paper format or in a computerized format (scanned or fully digital)? Paper 0.0
    Is there an electronic database for recording boundaries, checking plans and providing cadastral information (geographic information system)? No 0.0
    Is the information recorded by the immovable property registration agency and the cadastral or mapping agency kept in a single database, in different but linked databases or in separate databases? Separate databases 0.0
    Do the immovable property registration agency and cadastral or mapping agency use the same identification number for properties? No 0.0
    Transparency of information index (0–6) 1.5
    Who is able to obtain information on land ownership at the agency in charge of immovable property registration in the largest business city? Only intermediaries and interested parties 0.0
    Is the list of documents that are required to complete any type of property transaction made publicly available–and if so, how? Yes, on public boards 0.5
    Link for online access:
    Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the agency in charge of immovable property registration in the largest business city made publicly available–and if so, how? Yes, online 0.5
    Link for online access: http://cndra.gov.lr/doc/CSC-COST.pdf
    Does the agency in charge of immovable property registration commit to delivering a legally binding document that proves property ownership within a specific time frame–and if so, how does it communicate the service standard? Yes, on public boards 0.5
    Link for online access:
    Is there a specific and separate mechanism for filing complaints about a problem that occurred at the agency in charge of immovable property registration? No 0.0
    Are there publicly available official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the immovable property registration agency? No 0.0
    Number of property transfers in the largest business city in 2015:
    Who is able to consult maps of land plots in the largest business city? Records are not publicly available 0.0
    Is the applicable fee schedule for accessing maps of land plots made publicly available—and if so, how? No 0.0
    Link for online access:
    Does the cadastral or mapping agency commit to delivering an updated map within a specific time frame—and if so, how does it communicate the service standard? No 0.0
    Link for online access:
    Is there a specific and separate mechanism for filing complaints about a problem that occurred at the cadastral or mapping agency? No 0.0
    Geographic coverage index (0–8) 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the economy formally registered at the immovable property registry? No 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the largest business city formally registered at the immovable property registry? No 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the economy mapped? No 0.0
    Are all privately held land plots in the largest business city mapped? No 0.0
    Land dispute resolution index (0–8) 2.5
    Does the law require that all property sale transactions be registered at the immovable property registry to make them opposable to third parties? Yes 1.5
    Is the system of immovable property registration subject to a state or private guarantee? No 0.0
    Is there a specific 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 immovable property registry? Yes 0.5
    Does the legal system require a control of legality of the documents necessary for a property transaction (e.g., checking the compliance of contracts with requirements of the law)? Yes 0.5
    If yes, who is responsible for checking the legality of the documents? Registrar.
    Does the legal system require verification of the identity of the parties to a property transaction? No 0.0
    If yes, who is responsible for verifying the identity of the parties? .
    Is there a national database to verify the accuracy of identity documents? No 0.0
    For a standard land dispute between two local businesses over tenure rights of a property worth 50 times gross national income (GNI) per capita and located in the largest business city, what court would be in charge of the case in the first instance? Magisteral Courts
    How long does it take on average to obtain a decision from the first-instance court for such a case (without appeal)? More than 3 years 0.0
    Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? No 0.0
    Number of land disputes in the largest business city in 2015:
    Equal access to property rights index (-2–0) 0.0
    Do unmarried men and unmarried women have equal ownership rights to property? Yes 0.0
    Do married men and married women have equal ownership rights to property? Yes 0.0