St. Lucia

Registering Property in

St. Lucia

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in St. Lucia. 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: XCD 966,907.8
  • City: Castries
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Obtain a certificate of good standing from the Registry of Companies
Agency: Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property

The Land Registry requires that the Certificate of Good Standing be produced upon presentation of the Deed for registration. The certificate is requested by the parties' lawyers (for both, seller and buyer companies) upon written request to the Registrar of Companies. The purpose of this requirement is to certify that the company is a validly existing company . The Certificate states the Company’s name and registration number; the date of incorporation; the fact that no proceedings have been instituted to strike the name of the company off the Register; that it has filed its annual return for the preceding year with the Registrar of Companies; that it has not filed articles of amalgamation and is not in the process of being wound up and dissolved ; that as far as the Registrar is aware no Receiver or Manager of the company’s property has been appointed and that the company is a validly existing company.
5-7 days (simultaneous with procedures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) EC$25
* 2 Obtain compliance certificate from the National Insurance Corporation (NIC)
Agency: National Insurance Corporation (NIC)

According to the National Insurance Corporation Act of Saint Lucia it is mandatory for employers to deduct from the wages of employees/insured persons a statutory contribution and to remit this sum together with the employer’s contribution to the National Insurance Corporation (NIC). An unpaid contribution to NIC ranks as a privileged debt on the same level as state taxes without the necessity for registration and therefore takes priority over the rights of other secured creditors such as registered mortgagees. Therefore, if an employer has not remitted contributions to NIC and that employer’s property is sold for example by a secured creditor who has put the property into receivership, NIC’s claim will rank above that of the secured creditor. The compliance form can be obtained online at the website however it will have to be faxed or brought in in person.
1-3 days (simulaneous with procedure 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) no cost
* 3 The purchaser’s lawyer conducts searches on the title at the Land Registry
Agency: Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal

The title search is conducted at the Land Registry a division of the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal. It is common practice for a lawyer or his clerk to conduct these searches.
1-2 days (simultaneous with procedures 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7) EC$ 5 per parcel (property)
* 4 Obtain tax clearance certificate from the Inland Revenue Department
Agency: Inland Revenue Department

In order for the execution of the deed to proceed, both the seller and purchaser must have paid all outstanding income taxes and property taxes. Therefore, clearance from the Inland Revenue Department must be granted. This usually takes a few days because the Revenue Authority scans all documents. The land Registry will accept the document for registration once the Inland Revenue's stamp is on it indicating that all stamp duties have been paid. For non-nationals, the Vendor’s Tax is 10%. The public can now also submit a request for tax clearance via email and fax. However, the tax clearance is collected at one of the Inland Revenue Department offices.
1-3 days (simultaneous with procedures 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7) no cost
* 5 Lawyer prepares and executes deed of sale
Agency: Lawyer

Ideally, the lawyer can prepare and execute the deed in one day. However, this is dependent upon receiving the “Radiation” document of discharge of the seller’s mortgage from the bank. If there are no mortgages attached to the property, execution of the deed can be done in one or two days at the most. The purchaser pays stamp duty to the Inland Revenue Authority, in addition to EC$ 20, which represents stamp duty on two additional copies at EC$ 10 per copy. The scale of lawyers’ fees is set by the Bar Association of St. Lucia, and is used as a basis for the fees. A minimum flat fee of EC$ 100 is charged in addition to a percentage of property value. At the same time, the buyer will pay 2% for the stamp duty.
1-2 days (simultaneous with procedures 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7) Lawyer’s fees + Vendor’s tax + Buyer's tax + EC$ 20 (for two additional copies of the deed)Lawyer’s fees: flat fee of EC$ 100 + % of property value, according to the following scale:Property value / Fee:- Up to 50,000: 2.5%- Up to 100,000: 1.5%- Up to 850
* 6 The lawyer retrieves survey plan from the Survey and Mapping Department
Agency: Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban Renewal and Local Government

The plan is retrieved from the Survey & Mapping Division within 5 to 10 minutes. The information can be retrieved faster if the survey plan number is available. A search conducted with the Block and Parcel Number of the property can take a few minutes longer. In December 2012, all survey plans have been placed in digital format, eliminating the need to physically retrieve and print plans. With the digital system, surveys plans can be printed immediately following the search on the computerized system.
1 day (simultaneous with procedures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7) EC$ 5 minimum depending on a size of a survey plan
* 7 Search for encumbrances at the Registry of the High Court
Agency: Registry of the High Court

This search is necessary to ascertain whether or not there are any judgments against the purchaser and the vendor. Unless all judgments are settled, the transaction cannot proceed.
1 day (simultaneous with procedures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) EC$ 5 + EC$ 1 for each page copied
8 Register title deed with Land Registry
Agency: Land Registry

The registration fee is EC$20 per parcel. The original Deed is kept by the lawyer/notary, one copy remains with the Land Registry and one copy goes to the purchaser. Registration time depends on whether or not all documentation is complete and all fees and taxes have been paid, as well as on the work load of the Registry. Stamp duty is paid to the Inland Revenue Authority. Documentation required: - Deed of sale
9-10 days EC$ 20 registration fee
9 Register new owner with the Inland Revenue Authority
Agency: Inland Revenue Authority

A property owner is required to declare the property to the Inland Revenue Department within thirty (30) days of becoming the owner. This declaration must be a true statement of: 1. The description, Block and Parcel number, area and value of the land and in the case of a house it’s rental value; 2. The mailing address and a contact number of the owner or representative.
1 day no cost
  * 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? Paper
Is there an electronic database for checking for encumbrances (liens, mortgages, etc.)? No
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? Paper
Is there an electronic database to record property boundaries, check maps and provide cadastral information (Geographic Information System)? No
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? Not available
Transparency/Land Registry
Who is able to consult titles/deeds at the land registration agency? Please select all that apply Not available
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply Not available
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 Not available
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 Not available
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 Not available
If online, please provide the link
Are there official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the land registration agency? Not available
If yes, are they made available to the public?
What is the source of these statistics?
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? Not available
Please provide the contact information
Transparency/Cadastre
Who is able to consult maps/surveys? Please select all that apply Not available
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply Not available
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 Not available
If online, please provide the link
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? Not available
Please provide the contact information
Coverage/Land Registry
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country formally registered at the land registry? Not available
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city formally registered at the land registry? Not available
Coverage/Cadastre
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country mapped? Not available
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city mapped? Not available
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? Not available
What is the legal basis?
Is the system of property transfer and land registration guaranteed by the state? Not available
What is the legal basis?
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 Not available
What is the legal basis?
Dispute Resolution
Does the law provide for specific mediation procedures for land disputes? Not available
If yes, what is the legal basis?
Does the law provide for any specific land dispute resolution mechanisms? Not available
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? Not available
Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? Not available
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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