How do we complete the purchase of this property?
Good day Mr Francis,
I saw your articles in The Sunday Gleaner and find them interesting. I have a question, and I hope you can help me.
My parents had agreed to a lease and sale (for five years). The owner of the land is overseas and they did the agreement through a relative. However, I think she hadn't let the owner know, so she wanted to stop the agreement when the owner found out, but my dad had paid, and as such, said he wasn't going to leave.
The owner eventually came to Jamaica and spoke with my parents. He said he would get back in contact with them with regard to the land, but he has not.
I have been told that he visited Jamaica and he did not say anything about the land. We have being living here since 2003 and no one has bothered us.
I would like to know if and how we could purchase it. It has been nearly 12 full years and we would like somewhere for ourselves.
Also, what rights may we have or not have? We have letters and receipts of the agreement my parents made.
Good day G.G.,
This being somewhat more of a legal question, I sought assistance from my attorney and I was able to provide the response below.
From the information you have provided, your parents have a valid agreement for sale with the owner of the land as they were not to know that the agent for the owner did not inform the owner of the sale. They are, therefore, in law, bona fide purchasers for value.
Also, the fact that they have been living on the property since 2003, especially with no dissent from the owner, your parents can be deemed, in law, to be purchasers-in-possession, this, especially, if they have been paying the property tax.
So if your parents are deemed, in law, to be purchasers-in-possession, they can/should file a suit in the Supreme Court for specific performance to compel the owner/s to transfer the property to them. Consult a lawyer and he/she will be able to properly advise how this can be achieved, even if the owner refuses to transfer the property to your parents.
I hope this is able to help you. All the best in your endeavours.
Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land.
Until next time, traverse well.
- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at email@example.com or his Facebook page, Precision Surveying Service.