Selling property in Jamaica requires a property owner to exercise diligence during the entire process. It is always prudent to have a registered title before a decision is made to sell. The National Land Agency is the only body in Jamaica that can issue a registered title. A surveyor’s identification report or a valuation report is not a registered title. The seller must ensure that he/she has the right to dispose of the property.
Often, we find that people in rural areas of the island enter into an arrangement with purchasers to sell land without a registered title — this has been a practice since time immemorial.
However, this is not a recommended practice since a previous generation could have sold a part of the said land or given it to another person by way of last will and testament, or the square footage of land that the owner believes he/she owns could be inaccurate, among other reasons.
A Surveyor’s Identification Report is not enough to prove ownership. Lands without registered titles are referred to as unregistered land, therefore it is recommended that the beneficial owners ensure they consult an attorney or the National Land Agency to have the necessary applications made to obtain a registered title before sale.