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.
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.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)
With the commencement of another New School Year, issues surrounding which parent is responsible for the school fee, transportation and lunch money usually raise concerns for single parents seeking support.
The Maintenance Act (2005) explicitly states that every parent has an OBLIGATION to maintain the parent’s unmarried child who- (a) is a minor; or (b) is in need of such maintenance, by reason of physical or mental infirmity or disability. It is important to note that the grandparents may also have this duty in the event of the failure of the child’s parents to do so owing to death, physical or mental sickness or disability.
It should be highlighted that ‘parent’ not only refers to a biological parent, it includes someone who has accepted any child as ‘a child of the marriage’, whether that child is a biological child of one of the parties to the marriage or not. This means that a stepparent has an obligation to maintain the stepchild whom he/she has accepted as a child of the family, while the couple is married and this obligation continues even if the marriage has ended.
Once a parent neglects his or her responsibility to the child, one should not be afraid to seek maintenance for that child. Below are six steps in applying for maintenance:
- An application for child maintenance should be made at the Manchester Parish Court located at 2 Parks Crescent in Mandeville or any other Parish Court across the island.
- It is recommended that you retain the services of an Attorney-at-Law to file the application on your behalf but you can also do this on your own. If you are applying on your own, speak to the Clerk of Courts who will process the documents.
- The court will issue a summons (a court document instructing a person against whom the claim is brought) informing them of the date they should attend court to hear the matter. Also included in the summons will be how much the applicant is requesting as payment for child maintenance.
- The summons is served on the individual. If the person cannot be located, then the matter will not be able to go before a Judge. However, if the summons is served and the person refuses to attend court on the date specified in the summons, then a warrant will be issued for his/her arrest.
- Once the summons has been served, both parents should appear in court on the appointed date and present their case before the Judge.
- The Judge, in considering the best interest of the child will proceed to make an order regarding maintenance and the amount which should be paid, how it should be paid, and when it should be paid- weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)
It is common knowledge that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life. The saying “death and taxes go hand in hand”.is relevant in Jamaica because when a deceased person owns properties and other assets, the transfer of said assets to loved ones will require the payment of death duties to the Government.
There are two taxes payable: Stamp Duty which is payable before one can obtain a grant from the Supreme Court to call in the assets of the deceased and Transfer tax which is calculated at a rate of 1.5% of the value of any real estate owned by the deceased as at the date of death.
The Transfer Tax Act (1971) provides allowances and exceptions that can reduce the amount of transfer tax made payable on death; these include: funeral expenses, mortgage debts and whether the property was the principal place of residence.
Additionally, since April 2019, the exemption threshold was raised to $10 million. This means that transfer tax is only payable for estates that are valued over 10 million Jamaican dollars.
Death duties should be paid within one year after the deceased passing, if not done during that period, interest charges (6% per annum) will be added until that payment has been made. It is usually prudent to get guidance from an Attorney-at-Law who would advise you on how to handle the payment of death duties.
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Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)
Entrusting someone with Power of Attorney (POA) is an important step that should be carefully decided. If you are considering someone to be your Power of Attorney, then that individual has to be someone whose decision-making you trust completely. You (’Principal’) can give someone Power of Attorney to sign documents, attend court on your behalf or even make healthcare choices in the event that you are too ill to do so. This document can be very useful for persons abroad and unable to travel. Empowering a family member or friend in Jamaica with a power of attorney may come in convenient as that person can conduct business on your behalf.
You have been living on the land you purchased or received from your family member for many years and have been faithfully paying your property taxes but you do not have a registered title. This is the position that many land owners in rural Jamaica find themselves and are wondering what steps can be taken to obtain a title.
Before registering a land title in Jamaica, you first would need to contact an Attorney-at-Law who is verse in land dealings and you will need the assistance of a Commissioned Land Surveyor. Below are 6 key points to note when applying for a Registered Title: