Archive | Registrar of Lands

A Moment With The Registrar Of Lands- Part 01: 2018

A Moment With The Registrar Of Lands- Part 01: 2018

A moment with the Registrar of Lands

Applying for a replacement Land Certificate.

Every owner of land in Montserrat is entitled to have a land certificate issued as proof of land ownership.  Landowners must be responsible for keeping their certificate in a secure, safe location, just as they would any other important documents, such as passports and birth certificates.  However, there are times when land certificates get lost or misplaced.  This short article sets out the procedure to replace a lost land certificate.

A land certificate may get lost for several reasons.  The most common reason is that the Land Certificate got lost or misplaced after someone moved or relocated or following the death of a family member.  Land certificates may get lost or destroyed as a result of a fire, flood, hurricane or as a result of criminal activity such as arson or burglary.  There are other instances when the certificate gets lost or misplaced after it is entrusted to a third person, such as a family member, or a lawyer, surveyor, realtor, or banker.

Procedure

Sworn Statement

  • The owner of the land must make a sworn statement or affidavit including facts that would satisfy the Registrar that the certificate has been lost or destroyed.  The statement must detail events leading up to the loss, including where the certificate was last located, and the last time the whereabouts of the certificate were known.  If the certificate was entrusted to a bank, a lawyer, surveyor or family member, then that person would also have to make a statement, to confirm that the land certificate was last in his possession. 
  • Supporting documents must be attached to substantiate the facts stated, such as a police report of a burglary or fire.  In any event, the Registrar of Lands may request any supporting document to satisfy that the Land Certificate is lost or destroyed.

 Publication

After the application has been accepted by the Land Registry, with the statements and supporting documents, the Land Registry must publish a notice to the public that the certificate is lost.  Newspaper publication has been the most effective publication method for lost certificate application.  The most effective publication method for lost certificate application has been publishing in the newspaper.

Publication is a very important step because it:

  • Affords an opportunity to any person who may have information about the certificate to come forward;
  • Is easily documented as proof of publication, which the Registrar requires to cancel the old certificate and issue a new one;
  • Provides an opportunity to prevent loss by a potential equitable chargee, or a person who may have been entrusted with the certificate by the owner in exchange for a loan, or services and who would lose his security if a new certificate is issued without his knowledge.

Undertaking

Because only one certificate should exist for each parcel of land at any time, the applicant must agree or give an undertaking in his statement that if the lost certificate is ever found, it would be handed into the Land Registry.   This is a very important undertaking because the existence of two certificates for the same land parcel would be highly suspicious, and as it would appear that a falsehood or fraud took place to induce the Registrar of Lands to produce a land certificate when a land certificate was already in existence.

Conclusion

Applications for replacement of lost land certificates are not usually complicated.  Once a comprehensive statutory statement is made, most applications are granted within a short time.  Persons may wish to contact their lawyers for assistance in these applications.  For any questions concerning these or other applications concerning land, contact the Land Registry at (664) 491-3669/3620 or by email at surveys@ gov.ms.

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