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HELP! We need to get the title for our property

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis
Craig Francis

Good day, readers. This week I will respond to another question from a reader.

Hello Craig,

Let me first give you some background on my dilemma.

I am a Canadian married to a wonderful man from Jamaica. We are currently in the midst of applying to have my mother and father-in-law visit us here in Canada. My father-in-law purchased property more than 40 years ago in the Cave Valley area of St Ann.

He built a home on the property and has lived very comfortably there ever since.

At no point did he ever obtain the title for the property. When the property was purchased, the gentleman he purchased it from (now deceased) had gone to the tax office and advised them that my father-in-law was the new owner of the property and he has been paying the property taxes ever since that time.

I have copies of the last nine years of taxes paid, all in my father-in-law's name. We do have a very solid understanding of the property lines and size of the property purchased.

I have made many calls to Jamaica in an effort to figure out what it is I need to do so that they can finally have a legal document to their land. In doing so I have been provided with many different answers as well as many different and astronomical costs to have this done.

My questions to you would be the following: Where do I truly start?

How long, on average, does it take to have some sort of legal document?

Where do I truly start?

- C.M., Ontario, Canada


Good day, C.M. I am grateful that you read and support A Matter of Land from over there in Canada. Here are the answers to your questions.

You need to start, as is customary with many land matters, with a commissioned land surveyor. He or she will survey the property for you to demarcate the boundary and prepare a pre-check plan for you that will form part of the documents to use in your application for a title for the property.

Your next step would be to engage the services of an attorney to make an application for you to obtain a registered title for the property.

You will need sworn declarations from neighbours who can attest that your father-in-law has lived on, and acted as the owner of the property for 40 years, along with the Tax Compliance Certificate from the tax office.

As to how long it will take to complete the process, well, the pre-check plan should take 90 days for approval. As to the title, I understand from my attorney that its takes, on average, up to a year.

I hope my response has been able to assist you. All the best in this matter.

Keep sending our 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 or Precision Surveying Services