Wed | Aug 16, 2017

NLA pushes new anti-property fraud service to Diaspora

Published:Wednesday | March 29, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Cheriese Walcott, registrar of titles at the National Land Agency (NLA), speaks with a patron at the NLA’s booth at the JN Group Expo held at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, Canada, on March 25. The event, aimed at providing a one-stop information centre for Jamaicans in the Canadian diaspora who want to do business in and with Jamaica, was attended by several thousand people.

The National Land Agency (NLA) last Saturday unveiled its new online anti-property fraud service, Property Watch, to some 5,000 Jamaicans living in Canada who attended the inaugural JN Group Expo, organised by The Jamaica National Group.

The event, held at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, brought companies in its subsidiary holding company, the JN Financial Group; government agencies and real estate developers and construction companies together to provide a one-stop information centre for Jamaicans in Canada and others seeking to invest in Jamaica.

"There are a lot of issues for Jamaicans in the Canadian diaspora, who when they return to Jamaica, they sometimes find their property occupied by somebody they don't know; or their title has been transferred," said Lori-Ann Thompson, director, business services at the NLA.

 

Newest service

 

Thompson said that is the reason for the agency's design and launch of its newest service to property owners.

She pointed out that, in many cases, the nature of the frauds are identity theft committed by relatives or persons known to the owner.

Registrar of Titles Cheriese Walcott noted that although the numbers are not alarming, the issue is one of concern for the NLA.

"However, one case is enough for us to have a problem," she said.

The service is available for registered properties only; and can be accessed by owners, their personal representatives, or attorneys by registering on the agency's website at www.nla.gov.jm and paying a subscription fee.

Once registered, persons whose property become subject to fraud will be notified by text or email when a transaction has been lodged against the certificate of title or multiple certificates of title. The victim must then respond within 48 hours to indicate whether they are aware of such a transaction.

"You can go to court to address the problem, but the cost of going to court is expensive. Therefore, if we can 'catch it', we will alert you that something is amiss about your property. And then you can advise the registrar so that we can put a stop to it," Thompson said.