I remember when I in the process of studying to become a Real Estate professional couple years ago. I was outraged at learning in one of the law courses that the Law protects squatters with possession of other people’s property otherwise known as the registered legal owners. According to Section 70 of the Registrar of Titles Act.
Property owners/ register proprietor; who have registered your name on the title beware of “Squatters”. If a squatter takes adverse possession of your land for 12 years the title “extinguishes”.
I was going through the Sunday Observer (October 2, 2016) and there it was. The article on page 5 was appropriately tiled ” A title or toilet paper?” I am still outraged to this day. See below to read the full article for yourself.
In Jamaica, I deal in Real Estate and there is nothing more prized in possession than property ownership to Jamaican. And we have many hard working persons that toil for years and save up to pay the high 10% cash deposit to make their first down payment.
Real Estate is one of the largest purchase a Jamaican will make in their lifetime. And for majority it takes a lifetime to save up or to pay off that mortgage to own that property outright.
There are so many stakeholders in the Real Estate market that are adversely affected by this kind of hostile take over. Not to mention the families that are denied their right to ownership and right to alienate the property depending on the type of tenancy.
Not to mention the risk the Mortgage Banks are taking to grant a loan for the purchase of that property to lose all rights to a squatter. In contrast the squatter’s legal time given is 12 years, and it will take the Mortgagor up to 30 years to pay off that property loan.
What of tax revenue? Do these squatters pay property tax too? Is it possible to have double payments on one property in such a situation?
What of the utility company like NWC ; water is tied to to title (for properties with infrastructure in place).
This matter needs to be addressed unless we have no issues with squatters stealing from hard working honest people. It is about time that the law makers make this situation right. Laws are made to support what the majority of law abiding and taxpaying citizens want to govern the land. In this case who wanted this rule? Who say this as justice?
(Views expressed above are of the writer not necessarily shared by the company)
Copy link: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/A-title-or-toilet-paper-_75763
So, a person’s name is stated on a Certificate of Title as the registered proprietor (owner) of land in Jamaica. That logically means that the person is conclusively and undisputedly the owner of that land, right? Maybe not.
Two months ago the Privy Council (Jamaica’s final Court of Appeal) handed down a rather worrisome judgement in the case
Recreational Holdings 1 (Jamaica) Ltd v Lazarus  UKPC 22, Privy Council Appeal No 0085 of 2015 (which we shall now refer to as the case).
The crux of the case, as paraphrased from the judgement, is as follows:
Matthew Hogarth is the Managing Partner of MH&CO, Attorneys-at-Law, a boutique corporate law firm. He may be contacted at: email@example.com