Jamaica’s registered land title system is considered one of the most secure and robust anywhere. Jamaica uses the Torrens land title system, which is both a land registration and land transfer system. It was developed in Australia in 1858 and is used in Jamaica and certain provinces in Canada. This system requires the government to create and maintain a register of land holdings. Here’s how Jamaica’s registered land title system operates.
Unique Set of Numbers
When a parcel of land is registered for the first time, it is given a unique set of numbers, referred to as volume and folio. These numbers reference a registered plan with specified dimensions and boundaries. The record serves as incontrovertible evidence of title of the person recorded as the proprietor. The Registrar of Titles oversees the storage and updates of all original titles. The registrar records for each title the most up-to-date notations of ownership, mortgage, caveat, easement, or any other instrument lodged against it. The registrar creates a duplicate of the original title. When the ownership of the land changes, the duplicate title is surrendered to the registrar, who makes notations on both the original and duplicate titles. The new owner receives the previously surrendered duplicate.
Certificates of title are public records, therefore any member of the public may request a copy of a title online or in person at the registrar’s office and may view the full and up-to-date history of the property. The government guarantees the accuracy of these records. This makes title searches in Jamaica an easy exercise and the system a sound enterprise.
While the nature of the system is considered robust, the operational aspect of the system is in need of refinement and improved efficiency. That topic will be the subject of another blog post.
This article is extracted from the forthcoming book Real Estate Investment in Jamaica by Sydney Davis.
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