Samoa

Registering Property in

Samoa

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

Compare Samoa to 188 other economies.

  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property value: WST 399,361.7
  • City: Apia
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Conduct a search of title at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Meteorology
Agency: Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment

A search of title is conducted at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment in order to establish the vendor's title to ownership and to check for encumbrances on the property. It is common practice that the buyer's solicitor conducts a search at the land registry.The title search is done by volume and folio reference as well as parcel number (but registered chronologically). With the new computerized system, a property title search now provides all information regarding the rightful owner of the property, and shows if any charges against that property.
1 day Included in Procedure 2 if done by a lawyer
2 A lawyer prepares the sale and purchase agreement and notarizes the deed of transfer
Agency: Law Office

A sale purchase agreement is prepared by a lawyer. The participation of a lawyer is mandatory. The same lawyer/notary will notarize the deed of transfer between the seller and the buyer. The private practitioners in Samoa are entitled to notarize as well.
1-5 days About WST 2,300
3 An abstract for the stamp duty is prepared at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
Agency: Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment

An abstract for payment of stamp duty is prepared at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, determining the valuation of the property.
About 7 days no cost
4 Payment of stamp duty at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
Agency: Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment

As of the Stamp Duty Amendment Act of 2012 on 26th January 2012, effectice on April 2012, the stamp duty rate varies according to the property value as follows: Less than $50,000 - 1% of the property value Equal to $50,000 or less than $100,000 - $500 + 2% of the excess above $50,000 Equal to $100,000 or less than $200,000 - $1,500 + 3% of the excess above $100,000 Equal to or more than $200,000 - $4,500 + 4% of the excess above $200,000 The stamp duty is paid at the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment. If there is a mortgage (in this case there is not) this has to be discharged first, taking about 5 days. The discharged is signed by the mortgagee, usually a bank. It is then stamped. The stamp duty is WST 2 for the original and WST 5 for the copy payable to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment. It can take 5 days or more. The discharge is then registered with the Lands Registry at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
1 day WST 4,500 + 4% of the excess property value above WST 200,000 (stamp duty) + WST 5 for a copy
5 Registration at the Land, Survey, and Environment Department
Agency: Land, Survey and Environment Department

Registration of new title: The land registry in Samoa has been fully computerized, and the property transfer process has been sped up significantly. The Land Titles Registration Act 2008 implemented on March 2nd, 2009 has changed the registration system in Samoa from a Deed to a Title system (Torrens system). The project started in June 2005. At the same time, the land registry was being fully computerized and free-form deed documents were replaced by Form A4, thus facilitating registration. The Land registry has also issued a flat fee of WST 100 for conducting a search of the property title and for lodging the deed of conveyance for registration. Article 22 stipulates that a corporation may affix its seal in lieu of signing the instrument of transfer and it will be considered as signed by the Registrar.
3 days WST 100 (registration fee)
  
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/Scanned
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? Dual system/Linked
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
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply In person
If online, please provide the link
Is the list of documents required to complete any type of property transaction made publicly available? Please select all that apply No
If online, please provide the link
Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the land registration agency made publicly available? Please select all that apply No
If online, please provide the link
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;
If online, please provide the link
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? Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment Annual Report
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? No
Please provide the contact information
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
If online, please provide the link
Is the applicable fee schedule to get access to maps and surveys made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person
If online, please provide the link
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? No
Please provide the contact information
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? The Land Titles Registration Act 2008 ( ammended in 2012)
Is the system of property transfer and land registration guaranteed by the state? Yes
What is the legal basis? The Land Titles Registration Act 2008 ( ammended in 2012)
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? Not available
What is the legal basis?
Who is held responsible for verifying the identity of the parties to a property transfer? Please select all that apply Registrar
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? 2 years
Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? Yes
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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