QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
I’ve lost title for my Jamaica property and now that I need it can you please tell me what to do to get a replacement.
RESPONSE: Dear Herma
First of all, don’t panic. Simply visit the National Land Agency (NLA), or contract an attorney or legal worker to assist you with power-of-attorney. Here are the steps to obtain a replacement.
STEP ONE: APPLICATION:
A) Fill in and submit an application in the form of a declaration to the Land Titles Division. The Legal Form which can be used to make this type of declaration is available on the NLA website, or a lawyer can be contracted to prepare this document for you, on your behalf.
NOTE: If the application is not prepared by an Attorney-at-Law, the Titles Office requires the applicant to provide photo identification to accompany the application. Please read further on forms below.
B) Prepare and submit to a Statutory Declaration. All registered owners of the property must be signatories to this declaration.
The Statutory Declaration should detail:
how the Title was lost,
where the Title was kept,
by whom was the title kept,
when and where the Title was last seen,
the searches that you have made to locate the Title,
the value of the property,
any loan or mortgage on the property
NOTE: A person may need to submit more than one declaration depending on the circumstances surrounding the actual loss of the title.
One example of an additional needed declaration is where there is a mortgage, and said title was returned by the mortgage company. That mortgage company would need to submit a declaration. In fact, any other persons or companies who may have had custody of the Title must make declarations stating that they are no longer in possession of the document.
Further, If the Title was lost by theft or fire, then additional proof may be required such as a Police or Fire Report.
STEP TWO: FEES: An initial processing fee of $100 must also be paid to the Office of Titles.
An additional fee, as the final fee of either $300 or $600 is required. See below for detail.
STEP THREE: METHOD:
The two-tiered process can take up to six weeks to get a replacement.
LEVEL ONE: A representative of the Hanover Street office explains that on receiving application, once approved, the customer is issued a notice for them to advertise the property in a daily newspaper. This advertisement is inserted twice over a two-week period and the customer covers the attendant cost.
The customer/applicant must return with the entire tear sheet on which all notices got published or appeared in the newspaper and a final fee. The final fee is the final fee will be $300 if no survey plan is to be attached to the Certificate of Title, and $600, where a plan is required.
The replacement title is then issued.
STEP FOUR: return of original lost title:
If at any time, the Title which was lost or stolen is recovered, it MUST be returned to the Titles Office. If accepted, the Registrar cancels it and the land owner will get a new Title with a new volume and folio number.
It is always wise to return the Title, found again, for security purposes.
SEVERAL staffers from the NLA office contributed to this article.
Three offices merged to form The National Land Agency. They are Land Valuation Department and the Lands Department and the Office of Titles, Surveys Department.
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