Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Case of Lost Land Title - Jamaica

It’s been a long time since I posted but work sometimes gets in the way. During my absence I completed among other things what we call a lost title application. That is an application made for the issue of a new title when a duplicate certificate has been lost.

This is governed by section 82 of the Registration of Titles Act. The application is made by statutory declaration to the National Land Agency (NLA) aka Titles Office. Again this is one of those applications that suffer from repeated rejections.

The Registrar of Titles needs details as to the place, date and circumstances under which the title was lost. If other persons who are not the registered owner(s) had access to the title then those persons must also give a supporting declaration. Thus the declaration must cover the following information:

1. when, where and how the loss occurred,
2. where the duplicate Certificate of Title was kept and by whom, and
3. when and where the duplicate Certificate of Title was last seen

Further the applicant must convince the Registrar that he has conducted exhaustive searches and that the title cannot be found.

In the event that the title is stolen or destroyed completely in a fire then a lost title application must be filed. This must  however be also supported by a police report or a fire report respectively.

If the title is subsequently found it must be sent to the Registrar for cancellation. Indeed the Registrar insists that in the body of the application you “undertake to deliver up the said Certificate of Title to the Registrar of Titles for cancellation if it ever comes into [y]our possession, custody or control.”

When the application is approved the Registrar will issue a notice with instructions to advertise in the local newspaper. It must be noted that if the title were lost abroad then you will be required to insert the notice in a local newspaper in the relevant jurisdiction.

You can get more information on this by visiting the NLA website where you can learn what to do if the registered proprietor is a company or if one registered proprietor has died. The cost of the application is also set out..

One must be very careful to be straightforward when one makes these applications as any person who makes a fraudulent declaration is liable to criminal prosecution.

All this can of course be avoided if you ensure that your important documents are stored carefully.