Property Registration

Preparation of the sale purchase agreement and instrument of transfer

Agency : Lawyer

It is standard practice that a lawyer prepares the sale purchase agreement. At this point, the purchaser usually gives a deposit on the property to the vendor. The vendor guarantees that there are no encumbrances (or they are noted in the agreement) and no outstanding taxes associated with the property. Both companies present the resolution of their shareholders to engage in the transaction, as well as powers of attorney to act on behalf of the company. The corporate seal for the companies is also attached to the land transfer document. At the end of this period, the parties execute the instrument of transfer (a prescribed form according to Laws of Antigua and Barbuda, revised in 2007, Vol. 13, CAP 374) and swear the certifications of their signatures.

Time and cost: 3 days, Paid in Procedure 7

Conduct title search at the Land Registry

Agency : Land Registry

The lawyer checks for encumbrances at the Land Registry. The Registry is computerized, so the lawyer gives the clerk the block and parcel number, and the clerk can obtain the title record with this information. If the block and parcel number are unknown, an index search of the current Registered Proprietor’s name can be conducted to locate the parcel in question. Since January 2016, it is possible to conduct title searches online at http://www.lands.gov.ag

Time and cost: 1 day, XCD 50

Obtain the Chief Surveyor’s certificate

Agency : Office of the Chief Surveyor

According to the Registered Land Amendment Act of 2007, it is mandatory that the Chief Surveyor’s certificate appears in the transfer. Any land privately owned for at least 10 years must have a Chief Surveyor’s certificate confirming that the boundaries have been authenticated. A transfer filed without this certificate cannot be registered. This is to ensure that the boundaries of registered land remain accurate, as well as to avoid mischievous declarations.

Usually, surveyors are available, and they would be hired to do the verification and submit the form. After that, the Surveyor’s office just signs and allows the transfer.

The Land Surveys Division must verify the boundaries of the subject property and confirm that they have been established or re-established with the 10 years preceding the land transfer. The Registered Land Act Cap 374 was amended on the 25th October, 2007 to include the following provisions namely Sections 106(6) and 106(7):

  • “The Registrar may require an instrument of transfer to be accompanied by a survey plan authenticated by the Chief Land Surveyor indicating that the boundary in respect of the land to which the instrument relates has been authenticated.”
  • “The Registrar may require a resurvey of the land to which the instrument relates where the authentication of the boundary was effected more than ten years prior to the date of the instrument.”

Time and cost: 1 day, XCD 35

Executed instrument of transfer submitted to the Inland Revenue Commission

Agency : Inland Revenue Department

The Inland Revenue Commission checks that all property taxes have been paid, and assesses the value of the land according to the existing cadastre to decide the amount of stamp duty to be paid. Occasionally, evaluation officers may need to inspect the property at this point to determine its value if there is a discrepancy in the records of property taxes vs. the cadastral value.

Time and cost: 14 days, no charge

Inspection of the property by the Inland Revenue Commission

Agency : Inland Revenue Department

The Valuation Division of the Inland Revenue Department assesses the property value for purposes of charging the stamp duty on the property. To complete this assessment a valuation officer must inspect the site.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Payment of stamp duty on the instrument of transfer at the Inland Revenue Commission

Agency : Inland Revenue Department

The Law requires that the Vendor pays 7.5% of the property value as transfer tax and that the Purchaser pays 2.5 % of the property value as a transfer tax. Once it is found that no taxes are owed, the certification of rates and taxes attached to the transfer is completed by an evaluation officer from the Property Tax Division. Parties pay the assessed stamp duty, and the instrument of transfer is stamped.

Time and cost: 1 day, XCD 214,253.28 (10% of property value)

Instrument of transfer is submitted to the Land Registry for registration

Agency : Land Registry

The previous Land Certificate must be submitted to the registry for destruction. The documents for the instrument of transfer are then filed with the date and time submitted noted on the document itself. The registry seals all copies, but only one copy needs the stamps attached. A copy is returned to the buyer. The change of ownership is then noted on the requisite register. This is then submitted to the Registrar of Lands for signature, at which point the transfer is considered registered. The application for a new Land Certificate can occur during this time and is usually issued simultaneously. The registration fee of ED$ 30 is paid in stamps at the Antigua & Barbuda Registry of Lands. Lawyers/notaries will usually keep a supply of these at their offices for this purpose.

The registration fee is EC$30 if not more than 3 months have passed between execution and registration of the instrument of transfer. Filing a transfer after 3 months of the date of execution is an additional fee of EC$30 for every three months but not exceeding the sum of EC$150.

Lawyer / notary fees are usually paid once the Land Certificate is issued and the documents are registered.

Documents required:

  • The instrument of transfer (2 copies required by law)
  • Proof of payment of all taxes relating to the property
  • Old land certificate
  • Application for the new land certificate (optional, blanks available at the registry)

Time and cost: 14 days, XCD 16,467.66; (XCD30 (registration fee) + XCD100 (land certificate) + lawyer’s fees (2.5% on the first XCD25,000, 2% on the second XCD$25,000 and 1% on the next XCD950,000 and 0.5% on the balance))