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Transfer of land


Some time ago we looked at the major way by which land is transferred from one person to the other, that is, conveyance by sale. We noted that when land or real property is transferred it must be done by way of deed in pursuant of the Registration of Documents Act. The original deeds are thereafter lodged at the Land Registry located in the Court House building in Kingstown. These documents could be inspected by members of the public after paying a small fee.{{more}}

Land may also be transferred by way of mortgage. The property which the borrower, otherwise known as the mortgagor, puts up as security for money borrowed from the lending agency, otherwise known as the mortgagee, is transferred to the mortgagee. It is the legal title in the land that is transferred to the mortgagee while the Equity of Redemption remains with the mortgagor. After the principal and the interest are paid, the mortgagee has the duty to release the legal title by re-conveying the property to the person who has the Equity of Redemption. The transaction is done by way of deed which must be registered and lodged at the Land Registry. If the monies stipulated in the mortgage deed are not repaid within the given time, the mortgagee has the right to foreclose and sell the property to recover the sums of money owing.

A mortgage may be open ended in that the mortgagor may be allowed to borrow further sums of money on the same property in the form of further charges. However, a lending agent would not allow the mortgagor to over extend so that sums borrowed would not be covered by the value of the property.

Real property belonging to one person may be used by another for the payment of a periodic fee. The person who owns the property is known generally as the lessor or landlord while the person leasing or renting the property is known as the lessee or tenant. The words “landlord” and “tenant” are used more frequently than “lessor” and “lessee” but whereas tenancy operates on the basis of the common law and statutes the leases operate by way of contract.

A lease is a contract in which real property is conveyed by the lessor to the lessee for the use and enjoyment of the lessee, his assigns and administrators for a specific period of time. A lease could be given for a period of up to ninety-nine years. In a lease both parties make covenants as to how they would conduct themselves during the existence of the lease. The lessor gives up his rights to the lessee to occupy his property in exchange for rent. The rent payable and the time when it is due must be stated in the lease. Rent may be paid in advance or after it is due.

One of the important covenants that the lessor gives to the lessee is that of quiet enjoyment as the lessor must allow the lessee to conduct his affairs without interruptions or any annoyance. The lessee on his part must allow the lessor access to the property to effect repairs where necessary. The lessee must also covenant to yield up the premises in good tenantable conditions at the termination of the lease.

• Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
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