This week we are looking at the National Housing Trust (NHT) and why it’s the most auspicious time for contributors to utilize the benefits from this scheme. As of May 2019, the NHT increased its loan ceiling from $5.5 million to $6.5 million per contributor and reduced interest rates for all mortgagors by 1%.
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landowners from transferring, mortgaging, or otherwise dealing with the land without your consent unless the caveat is withdrawn or a court of law orders otherwise.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.
Personal injury is the area of law that deals with the issue of liability and compensation where one is injured as a result of an accident. Such accidents may fall within the category of a motor vehicle accident, an accident while one is on the job, a slip and fall, or any other accident where because of the negligence of another person, injury results to a Claimant.
Motor vehicle Injuries
Say you are in a taxi heading to the supermarket. The taxi man was speeding despite your warnings. The taxi-man ran the stoplight and subsequently collided with another vehicle. The accident occurred in a matter of seconds, and you suffered a broken leg, fractured neck, and was completely traumatized while the driver of the other vehicle suffered head injuries. This is an example of personal injury case.
You, as well as the driver of the other vehicle, can claim compensation by following these five steps:
Step 1- Ensure you are safe and out of harm’s way. After, do an assessment of yourself to see if you suffer any physical injuries that require any immediate medical attention.
Step 2- Once you are safe, call the police and let them know you were in a car crash.
Step 3- Gather the facts: While waiting on the police, attempt to gather the necessary facts, such as the information you will need for your claim. Such as driver’s license number, license plate number and insurance information.
Step 4- Get medically examined: Ensure to visit a medical doctor so that you can be examined to assess/ confirm all the injuries you have suffered. If you received medical care for injuries related to the accident, make sure to keep a record of your doctor or clinic visits, as well as medications and treatments you receive.
Step 5- Consult with your lawyer: Call an attorney and talk to them about the accident, your medical treatment, and any other information you think is important so they can evaluate your case. Your lawyer is there to help you with your claim and will present your claim to the relevant insurance company.
Work Place Injury
Say you work for a construction company. Your workplace, like all others, is required to provide a safe environment for work as stipulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2017. The concept of a safe work system is not restricted to providing proper functioning equipment; it extends to providing adequate training, supervision, notices, and warnings to employees as necessary for a safe working environment. Despite these requirements, you met in an accident while on the job. You fell off a scaffold after your employer failed to repair the equipment.
If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, follow these three key steps:
Step 1- Make an accident report to your superior. This report should entail the injury attained while completing a specific task, irrespective of how minor the injury may be.
Step 2- After making the report, visit the doctor so that a thorough examination can be conducted to assess the extent of the injury you incurred and the recovery time for said injury. All medical and pharmaceutical receipts should be kept; these will be necessary when you are claiming compensation in court.
Step 3- Lawyer Consultation: You should speak to a lawyer with experience in personal injury matters. Your lawyer will gather all the details from you about your accident and advise you on how to proceed with your claim after reviewing your case.
I have come across land owners who seem oblivious to the requirement of getting a building permit BEFORE the construction, modification, extension or renovation of any structure. A building permit should be acquired from your respective parish Municipal Corporation. This week, we examine the process of acquiring said permit.
Whether you are planning a ‘round robin’, beach party or a nine-night, a permit is required to host the event. Section 5 of the Noise Abatement Act sates that “where a person intends to operate any specified equipment to provide music for dancing or any other form of entertainment in a public place in circumstances where such music is reasonably capable of disturbing any person occupying or residing in any private premises, such person shall make a written application…” This application for permission to host any event should be submitted at least 10 clear days prior to the event being held.
As an Attorney practicing Real Estate Law, I was pleasantly surprised by the Revenue Measures for the 2019/20 fiscal year announced by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke on March 7,2019.
My article this week will look explicitly at the imminent changes regarding the reduction in fees for stamp duty and transfer taxes, that are slated to take effect as of April 1, 2019. To reiterate, the following are the proposed adjustments:
Many persons are unaware of the recurrent fees associated with owning a Strata property. Some persons might also be surprised to learn that they have to pay monthly maintenance fees to the Strata, among other expenses. This week will we will look at three of the main costs associated with strata properties. They are as follows:
1. Property Taxes
According to the Registration of Strata Titles Act, owners of strata units and the corporation are jointly and severally liable for all property tax payable in respect of that parcel. It is therefore important that property owners in strata corporations ensure that other owners pay their respective amounts due.
The taxes are calculated on the unimproved value of the property on which the strata corporation is established.
You can pay or check the amount of property taxes payable by entering valuation number and strata lot no. Logon to the website https://www.jamaicatax.gov.jm/property-tax-query
2. Property Insurance
Section 5 (1) of the Registration (Strata Titles) Act determines that the duty of the corporation, inter alia, is “To insure and keep insured the building to the replacement value thereof against fire, earthquake, hurricane and such other risks as may be prescribed, unless the proprietors by unanimous resolution otherwise determine”.
It is the duty of the corporation to maintain adequate insurance coverage for the building(s) and the proprietors are responsible to pay for the insurance in accordance with his/her unit entitlement.
A single proprietor cannot determine that no insurance coverage is to be sought but rather all proprietors (100%) have to agree that no insurance will be obtained.
3. Maintenance Fees
Maintenance fees are contributions generally paid monthly or quarterly into the strata plan’s bank account. These fees are used to fund the ongoing expenses of the Strata for things like cleaning, gardening, electricity and building maintenance,
The amount of maintenance contribution is determined by the budgeted expenses of the Strata.
It is truly important that property owners understand the costs associated with a Strata and pay their relevant fees as the Strata has the right to exercise a power of sale in respect of a strata lot in accordance with Section 5(2) (e) of the Act.
Any person/ entity wishing to operate in the legal cannabis industry in Jamaica is required to go through the application process as set out in the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) (Interim) Regulations.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (“CLA”) was established in 2015 by the Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Act. The CLA primarily issue licences for cultivation, processing, retail sale, transportation and research of legal ganja and hemp products.
There are five categories of licences with eleven sub-categories. These categories are: Cultivator’s Licence, Processing Licence, Transport Licence, Retail Licence and Research and Development Licence. An applicant can apply for more than one type of Licence. You can submit multiple applications at once if you are interested in operating in multiple aspects of the industry. For example, you may want to have a licence to cultivate and then another licence to process or transport the cultivated product.
There are fees associated with each category type, as well as a non-refundable application processing fee and a security bond payable per licence applied for. All fees are quoted in United States Dollars The licence fees ranges from US$2,000- $10,000.
The licencing requirement also states that individuals wanting a Cultivator’s Licence must be living in Jamaica for 3 or more years and companies who are applying must be registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica and must also be substantially owned and controlled by a Jamaican resident.
It should also be noted that applicants are required to submit police reports and individuals with criminal records will not be allowed to apply and likewise, companies with directors with local or foreign criminal records will not be allowed to apply.
The process can be onerous as the requirements are often licence-specific and categorized. It is therefore advisable that applicants consult an Attorney-at-Law.
The new year started with a significant legislation taking effect, yes, I’m referring to the “plastic ban” which applies to plastic bags (dimensions 24”x24” and thickness of 1.2 mils or less), disposable plastic straws and styrofoam products.
The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order,2018 and The Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order,2018 brought this law into effect. Paragraph 3 states “With Effect from the 1st day of January, 2019, and subject to paragraph 4, no person shall import or distribute any single use plastic in commercial quantities”.