Accessing your NHT benefits to Purchase or Build your first Home

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%.

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New Tax Amendments: Now is the time to buy/ sell Real Estate

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:

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Understanding Real Estate Valuation

I’m often asked, “how much should I sell my property for?”. It is advisable that all sellers and purchasers of properties obtain a current valuation (report) of the property from a certified valuator/appraiser in order to determine the current market price at which the property should be sold.

A valuation report or a real estate appraisal is a written report, independently and impartially prepared by a certified appraiser justifying his/her opinion as to the market value of the property.

If the purchaser is relying on a mortgage, the financial institution granting the mortgage loan will require a valuation in order to ensure that the value of the property exceeds the value of the mortgage loan. This valuation report should not be more than one (1) year old.

Although the content of real estate valuation reports varies depending on the type of property being appraised, reports generally contain the following information:

  1. The purpose of the appraisal being sought and the appraiser’s terms of reference
  2. Certification of report
  3. The market value of the property
  4. a description appropriate for the type of the property being appraised including, but not limited to: address, map reference, copy of a survey or map and property photographs
  5. the appropriate land use regulations, zoning and other restrictions that may affect the market value of the property

If you are considering to sell your property, it is important to obtain a valuation report from a certified Appraiser.

About Author:

Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)
Manchester, Jamaica

Tel: (876)964-4046
Whatsapp: (876)827-8050

Understanding the Subdivision of Land Application Process (Part 2)

This week we conclude our subdivision series by outlining the main steps that one should follow when applying for individual titles from the National Land Agency (NLA).

The steps are as follows:

  1. Once the subdivision has been approved by the relevant Municipal Corporation, the applicant should apply for the Deposited Plan number. This is the number that is assigned to the subdivision plan. The following documents are required to be submitted to the National Land Agency: a certified copy of the Resolution by the Municipal Corporation, the pre-checked plan depicting the lots in the subdivision, a Statutory Declaration by the Land Surveyor verifying the accuracy of the pre-checked plan and that the lots and roadways have been marked out on the ground. The Deposited Plan takes approximately eighteen (18) business days to be processed. The applicant will be notified of the deposited plan number which will be assigned to the pre-checked plan.
  2. Secondly, an application form for surrender of the Duplicate Certificate of Title must be submitted to the NLA along with the registration fees. These fees are assessed based on the market value for each individual lot. The application form must describe the property and state the value of the lots as well as the number of titles to be issued. The deposited plan number and date of deposit should also be stated. The application is lodged and assessed by the NLA and where the documents are found to be in order, NLA will process the application and issue individual titles for each lot.

The entire process can be onerous and it is imperative that you engage the services of professionals to assist with your subdivision application.

About Author:

Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)
Manchester, Jamaica

Tel: (876)964-4046
Whatsapp: (876)805-6688

Understanding the Subdivision of Land Application Process (Part 1)

In rural Jamaica we are familiar with the common practice of land being gifted from one generation to the next. This land is often divided among family members where one person owns “di piece up a top” and another “di piece from di mango tree to the fence.”

This division of land is analogous to a subdivision – the process of dividing a parcel of land into a number of lots and obtaining individual titles (splinter titles) for each lot. All subdivisions must be approved by the relevant parish Municipal Corporation before the land can be divided into the various lots. The Manchester Municipal Corporation located on Hargreaves Avenue, approves subdivision plans for lands located in the parish.

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Help My Land Title Cannot Be Found!

Many persons have had the misfortune of misplacing or destroying documents that are of high importance. Whether it was a passport, birth certificates, health cards or your land titles. Yes, even land titles get lost. Your land title is a document that state that you are an owner or part owner of a land, it shows proof that the land is yours. It would be expected that a document such as this would be kept in a safe and secure place so that no harm might come its way, but accidents do happen and there may be a need to replace a lost title.

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Encroachment on Adjoining Property

Many of the land disputes heard in the Manchester Parish Court has to do with the issue of encroachment. Land encroachment means that one person ‘advances’ or violates his boundary limits by building something on the neighbour’s land or allowing something to hang over the adjoining property boundary. An example of an encroachment is the construction of a dividing fence or wall that is not within the correct registered boundary of the property.

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