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The Land Laws of Belize are derived mainly from the Common Law and English Statutes of the 19th century. The Law of Property Act, Chapter 190 is similar to the Real Property Act 1925 of England in many ways. Other relevant statutes include the Registered Land Act, Chp 194 (1977). This statute governs all land transactions of Belize. The Government of Belize has given its assurance to the investor that all bonafide developer will encounter no problem in obtaining license. However, the developer should contribute for overall development of the land and the area. If you are non-Belizean you must obtain permission from the Minister of Natural Resources, to purchase or hold land in excess of half an acre in cities or towns or ten acres outside city or towns limit. Along with the application a buyer should also submit to the Minister a "PLAN FOR DEVELOPMENT" for which the land is intended to acquire. If the purchase land is already a developed land then only a license is required from the concerned Ministry where the buyer must declare his intention of buying the land.Alternatively a foreign buyer can also take land on lease from the Government with an option to buy after a specific period of time, which must be mentioned in the agreement. Government charges a one percent (1%) tax on the value of land, if the land is unimproved and needs development. If a property is bought with the intention of first developing and the selling the same in small lot after development, then a subdivision permit must be obtained from Ministry of Natural Resources. Generally the cost of transfer of title is 10% of the value of the land for Stamp Duty and a token fee for registration. Through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Transportation, mineral exploration licenses and mining leases can be obtained after submitting adequate papers and documents in support of the project The Government of Belize has given its assurance to the investor that all bonafide developer will encounter no problem in obtaining license. However the developer should contribute for overall development of the land and the area. There is a "homesteading" program that is basically a way for Belizeans to lease land or a lot for a nominal amount, and, after they've cleared it and built on the property, can buy it inexpensively. It is also open to officials residents who are non-citizens of Belize, but to become eligible there are other criteria’s which must be fulfilled in order to apply for this scheme. There are mainly two types of Land in Belize. Which are:
(a) Undeclared Land &
Transactions done for Undeclared Land in Belize has to be recorded at the Titles Registry. On the other hand, transfers done for Declared Lands are to be registered at the Land registry. Both Registry offices are located in Belmopan. The Law of Property Act also allows for acquisition of property to take place in the instance that one has settled on a land for more than 30 years. In addition to mere settlement, one has to have continuous undisturbed possession of land for 30 years. If the Supreme Court finds that possession is established, they may issue a declaration of Title in respect of said easement, right or privilege to the individual putting forward the claim Property purchasers can take title to freehold property in Belize in three different ways. They are:
(a) Deed of Conveyance,
(b) Transfer of Certificate, and
(c) Land Certificate.
(a) Deed of Conveyance: It is the oldest form of title ownership by a Deed of Conveyance. Ownership by way of conveyance is a registered right to ownership of property. Ownership by conveyance can be converted to a Certificate of Title via an application for first registration. The subsequent buyer is issued a Transfer Certificate of Title. However, that a Deed of Conveyance is a valid legal title once an attorney has confirmed that the seller has good title to the property.
(b) A Transfer of Certificate: This type of ownership is secure. A Transfer Certificate of Title is a physical title to a particular parcel of land. It is more costly and time consuming to transfer title on a Transfer Certificate of Title than Deed of Conveyance.
(c) A Land Certificate: This is an absolute title and applies to property purchases in new or specially designated areas. The Government is in the process of re-registering all freehold lands under the Registered Land Act of 1987 to achieve an eventual uniform system of nationwide land ownership. However this process is very time taking as survey is yet not completed.
The Conveyance or Transfer Exercise
The Conveyance or Transfer exercise commences with either the Vendor or the purchaser. As the Real Estate Agent, Buy Belize represents both the Vendor and Purchaser and guarantees satisfaction to both parties. The first step while transferring process is the creation of the Sale Agreement and Purchase Agreement Contracts. These contracts full fill the basic terms on which the property is to be transferred. This agreement is not always needed for a transfer to take place; however, it does help to guarantee and expediate the Transfer to take place. These contracts are not conveyance documents and do not transfer the property. Next, if anyone buys Belize Real Estate will carry out the Title Search Services at the request of the purchasers. One of our representatives will venture to Belmopan and carry out a search on the property documents. This will allow us to find out all the information concerning the property being transferred. This will be used to discover whether the property has any license, unpaid taxes, mortgages associated with it. This search will also allow us to discover whether or not there are any form of restrictive covenant or incumbrance in respect of the property for sale. This is a very time consuming process, which may take many hours, if not weeks also. The Ideal arrangements are for the vendor and purchaser to attain an Attorney together as this can save time and money. Both vendor and purchaser can have a single attorney prepare and file the Transfer documents. Or the Purchaser can have his own personal attorney over see said documents. This will be at the purchaser expense only. The Purchase & Sales Agreement Form should contain the following details The namesAddress and Occupation of both the parties. If there is more than one Purchaser, the manner in which the purchasers will hold the Land as joint Tenants or Tenants in common. Description of the Land, dimensions, location and Volume & Folio numbers of the Title (Registered land only). Purchase price should be written in figures and words. The amount or percentage of deposit required from the purchaser. (Usually 10%) The Balance is due at the date the Transaction is expected to be completed. The Purchaser may be liable to forfeit his deposit if he fails to complete the purchase at time stated in the agreement. (e.g.) there can be conflict between making time essence and other provisions, if therefore both provisions are to be inserted, they must be skillfully and carefully worded by an Attorney to avoid conflict. Our Company will be responsible for preparing, executing and lodging the Transfer documents and finalizing it.
Transfer documents range according to the details of the property being purchased - whether it is a declared or undeclared land parcel. This document includes: (a) First Certificate of Title,(b) Transfer Certificate, (c) Deed of Conveyance and (d) Land Certificate. The Company will do the necessary checks and gather the necessary approvals, which are necessary to carry out the property transfer. If there are two or more purchasers, then the document must state the manner in which the new owners will hold the property. The Transfer is usually accompanied by the following The original Land Title. Discharge of mortgage or discharge of a charge. Recording or registration fees and stamp duty. The company will also ensure that the various documents are signed and stamped by the Justice of the Peace in Belize when necessary. The Purchasers do not have to be in the country for the transfer to take place. We will explain the details of this at our offices in Belize.
There are basic minimum costs, which must be met by both parties when it comes to property transfers in Belize. These are: Stamp Duty, Property Taxes, Recording of Registration Fees, and the Real Estate Company Expense. The property taxes are to be incurred by the sellers only. Most of the cost incurred by the purchaser applies to property recordings, registration, leases, mortgages and miscellaneous charges. When purchasing property in Belize there are certain things, which are not required, which are stated below:
a) Title insurance.
b) Capital gains tax.
c) Stamp Duty is a 5% charge on the declared purchase price of the property
d) Registration Fee: $15 Bz dollar for the Title Document
Other services that may bear additional charges based on the request of the purchaser includes:
(a) Title search,
(b) Valuation report, and
(c) Registration of new mortgage:
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
You may Contact
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES,
Belize PHONE: (501) 8-22232. 22231.