A caveat is a form of injunction under the Registration of Titles Act (RTA). If you are claiming an estate or interest in a land, a caveat serves as a notice of such interest to anyone dealing with that particular property. Hence, it prevents landowners from transferring, mortgaging, or otherwise dealing with the land without your consent unless the caveat is withdrawn or a court of law orders otherwise.
If you find yourself interested in lodging a caveat, two types are available to you:
Registration caveat – Once the advertisement has been disseminated in public that a particular title is going to be issued in respect of a parcel of land, once there is an interest, you can lodge a caveat to the Registrar of Titles to prohibit the issuing of a new title within 6 weeks of the date of the advertisement.
‘Protective’ caveat-This is a caveat that can be lodged to protect your interest in a land.
HOW IS A CAVEAT LODGED?
If you have an interest in land that you believe can be protected by a caveat, contact an Attorney-at-law, who will not only act as an agent but guide you through the lodgment process. The process may occur relatively quickly once you provide your lawyer with all the relevant information. Three essentials for a successful caveat lodgment are the following:
- Completed Caveat form
- Copies of the relevant documents evidencing your interest being claimed
- The NLA fee (0.50% of the interest that you are claiming)
HOW CAN A CAVEAT BE REMOVED?
To remove a caveat, you can simply withdraw it. Similar to the lodgment process mentioned previously, you or your attorney needs to sign a form for the withdrawal of the caveat, which is then registered. A caveat may also be removed if it lapses. The caveat cannot be renewed in respect of the same interest after 14 days. You can, however, before the 14 days expire, appear before a Judge and give an undertaking or security or lodge a sum of money into court as the Judge may consider sufficient to have the registration of the dealing/ lapse delayed.
Tanelia Barriffe-Brown & Abi-Gaye White-Thomas