Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Hold lawyers accountable for botched property deals

Published:Saturday | May 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM


It is painfully clear to Jamaicans all over the world that attorneys are also mortals, some of whom have succumbed to the temptations offered by the loopholes in the management system of the real-estate deals that they are hired to bring to closing.

The challenges faced by realtors, purchasers and sellers are not just being experienced today. Decades ago, it was worse. Real-estate deals languished, and the money obtained was put on certificates of deposit in the names of some attorneys while the clients were sans money until the attorneys reaped enough interest.

The Ministry of Justice, along with the Real Estate Board, should put new systems in place to hold attorneys accountable for the handling of real-estate deals. Subject to the contractual time, there should be a semi-annual report for outstanding residential deals, and an annual report for commercial deals. This report should clearly state the reasons closing was delayed.

Attorneys are not banks, and should not be required to hold funds that are not related to their fees and government stamp duties.

Real-estate matters that are not subject to mortgages should be funnelled through the banks, with proper verification of funds at the writing of the contract and a system put in place that when all contractual obligations are satisfied, the funds be relayed to the attorney seven days prior to closing for disbursement to the related parties.


Black River, St Elizabeth