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.

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  • 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)

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