Tonga

Registering Property in

Tonga

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Tonga. 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 Tonga to 188 other economies.

  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property value: TOP 394,205.1
  • City: Nukualofa
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 The lawyer prepares the transfer deed and application letter
Agency: Lawyer

The lawyer prepares the transfer deed and the application to transfer the lease. The use of a lawyer is not legally required but used in practice. Lawyer fees are not regulated, but there is a non compulsory table for lawyer fees issued by the Chief Justice.Tongan land law is extremely complex. Buildings do not necessarily belong to the land and there are significant conflicts and disputes involving identical material facts.
10 days About TOP 500
2 An application to transfer a lease is submitted to the Hon. Minister of Lands
Agency: Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Natural Resources

A letter of application to transfer the lease, signed by both parties, along with the original deed of transfer mentioning the amount of the transfer and the original Deed of lease are submitted at the same to the Ministry of Land. • The Hon. Minister of Lands forwards the application to the Land Registration Section (LRS) for title search and due diligence. Once the title search and due Diligence are completed and meet the legal requirement, LRS then submits to the Hon. Minister of Lands with a brief on the outcome of the title search and due diligence with the recommendation to approve, subject to Cabinet’s consent to the lease transfer. • LRS submits to the Cabinet with the recommendation that Cabinet grants consent to lease transfer • And then the Cabinet will approve the submission. • Once all these processes are completed LRS prepare the Indenture of Transfer that must be signed by the Transferor and the Transferee
90 days no cost
3 The parties sign the Indenture of the Transfer
Agency: Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Natural Resources

All lease transfers have to be approved by the Cabinet, which can take over 3 months on average. Cabinet meets once a week. Once approved, the Transferor and the Transferee sign the Indenture of Transfer and pays the Consumption tax of 15% of the value of the sale. The Indenture of Transfer is sent to the Hon. Minister of Land for his signature.
7 days 15% of property value (Consumption tax) + 14 TOP
4 The signature of the new Lessee at the office upon receiving the Deed of Lease
Agency: Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Natural Resources

The Minister then signs and registers the lease. Once the lease is registered, the new lessee will receive an updated lease under his name. One original copy is kept at the Ministry. The rent for the lease can be revised every 5 years. The land registry is managed on paper.
5 days no cost
  
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? 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 In person;On public boards;Online;
If online, please provide the link http://crownlaw.gov.to/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1903/1903-0020/Land...
Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the land registration agency made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;On public boards;Online;
If online, please provide the link http://crownlaw.gov.to/cms/images/LEGISLATION/AMENDING/1991/1991-0018/LandA...
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 No
If online, please provide the link
Are there official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the land registration agency? No
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? 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;On public boards
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? Yes
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city mapped? Yes
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? Land Act
Is the system of property transfer and land registration guaranteed by the state? Yes
What is the legal basis? Land Act
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? No
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? Yes
If yes, what is the legal basis? Land act . The land court for a land dispute
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? 1 year
Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? No
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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