Can I sell land in Jamaica using a common law title? (Jamaica)

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Can I sell land in Jamaica using a common law title?

Published Jan 30, 2012
Dear Legal,
I would like to sell some land in Jamaica that was passed from my grandmother to my mother and now to me. The title I have is a common law title in my grandmother's name, and both my grandmother and mother have died. I would love to get a title from that common law title if it is needed.  My aunt paid taxes till she died, and then I began paying the taxes up till now. None of my relatives are interested and I have letters from them saying so. Please help.
MW
 
RESPONSE:
Dear MW
You can sell property using the common law title, but remember that the Registration of Titles Act places an onus on you, the Vendor to supply the Purchaser with a registered title. You will need further direction as the title is in your grandmother's name and the process to registering title, and selling property, can be complicated for someone with only basic knowledge. Our team can assist you further. 
Here we will discuss common law title, obtaining registered title, and buying/selling land with the same.
ABOUT COMMON LAW TITLE In JAMAICA
A common law title is a certificate which is used for unregistered property. It can be used to upgrade to or obtain the actual registered land title at the National Land Agency (NLA). Please bear in mind that The Registered Titles Act stipulates that the originally created registered land title be retained at the office of Land and Titles, while ‘landowners’ are entitled to duplicates.
As a Deed of Conveyance, it is a legal document prepared under seal by an attorney-at-law, containing an agreement where there is conveyance or transfer of property from one person to another. It can also be bought at stationary stores islandwide.
The common law title usually contains:
-  premises that are being conveyed
-  the particulars of the parties. This is the details on the vendor and the purchaser and the considerations for the property, including the amount of money that the property is being sold for.
The common law title MUST:
- be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or notarised by a Notary Public
- must be recorded at the Registrar Generral’s Department (RGD)
STEPS TO TAKE WHEN APPLYING FOR REGISTERED LAND TILE WITH COMMON LAW TITLE:
When seeking the registered title with the common law title other documents you will additionally need are;
 - an application form
- an affidavit setting out the details of how the land was obtained
-  two declarations from persons who have known the land for at least 30 years
- an up-to-date tax certificate indicating that payment of property taxes is current.
- any and all other documents that can prove ownership, such as receipts, conveyance or probate, should also be produced
WARNING:
1. If the parcel of land is being registered by reference to a survey plan, then it will be necessary to submit a pre-checked survey plan, along with the application. 
2. If the description of the property is not by survey plan, then the description of the land should be by measurement and boundary (estimated description). It should be noted however, that the distance must be stated in metric units (more or less) along each boundary line and the estimated area of the entire parcel should also be stated in metric..
3. If the property was obtained by way of a will, probate is required
For this you will need to submit the documents relating to that particular estate, for example the Probate Document and the Estate Duty Certificate
 
BENEFITS OF COMMON LAW TITLE include:
You can secure a loan from lending institutions, such as co-operative societies and the National Housing Trust (NHT), using a common law title.
Under The Facilities for Titles Act  "The National Housing Trust does accept a common law title, for certain specific loans. Bear in mind that you will also need to establish the root of the title via the Statutory Declarations form.
 
SELLING PROPERTY
Please see relevant links on this site about buying and selling property.
 
Hope this helps. Please contact the team for any further detailed assistance.
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