Jan 18, 2014 News
The Deeds Registry (Amendment) Bill, which was tabled and debated in the Parliament in 2012, but was subsequently sent to a Special Select Committee, was finally passed on Thursday.
The Bill seeks to amend the Deeds Registry Act to elevate an agreement of sale of immovable property to the status of a bond, a lease or other encumbrance.
The agreement of sale of immovable property would therefore be registrable in the Deeds Registry and can be annotated on or recorded against a transport or other duly recorded deed. Importantly, both the agreement of sale and the annotation can be cancelled.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, spoke highly of the work of the select committee, which was comprised of members of all Parties. He said that during the deliberations, many differences of opinions arose, but they were subsequently reconciled and all decisions were consensually arrived at.
There have been rising complaints of one owner selling his property several times, to different buyers, because of weaknesses in the laws and systems.
The Bar Association, one of the most important stakeholders, was lauded by all members for its invaluable input in guiding the work of the committee. The Bar Association attended many sessions of the committee’s meetings and made written and oral presentations that were adept and showed much researched positions.
“I will concede that the Bill, which will now be presented for its third reading, is an almost overhaul from what was initially tabled, though it captures the singular mischief which it was intended to address, which is to ensure that a transported holder is not free to sell that property subject of the transport, fraudulently to more than one purchaser,” the Attorney General explained.
He added that while the general concept was retained, the Bar Association and the members of the committee were able to devise a far more elaborate mechanism.
This Bill will allow persons in possession of an Agreement of Sale of immovable property to be able to register it in the Deeds Registry. This will enable the agreement to be recorded or annotated against a transport or other duly recorded deed to the property in question.
With regards to what percentage of the purchase price is required to be paid before a person can be injuncted from selling a property, the Bar Association was calling for an amendment to the law to allow for a 50 percent deposit; however, the members of the committee stood strongly for the maintenance of the standard 10 percent down payment.
Currently, an agreement of sale confers upon the purchaser no interest in land which is the subject of that agreement. Over the years, there have been several reported cases of purchasers of land being defrauded of the benefit of the agreement of sale by the land being re-sold to a third party and transport passed to that third party without the knowledge of the original purchaser.
The purpose of this Bill is to clothe a purchaser of land held by transport with some form of protection until the transport is conveyed, a Government statement said yesterday.
Basil Williams from the APNU and Moses Nagamootoo from AFC also spoke of the concerted efforts of all involved at the level of the select committee in the bid to create a better, more efficient Deeds Registry, which has time and again come under criticisms.
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