LAND REGISTRATION IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
In Trinidad & Tobago there are two systems of land registration:
1) Deed Registration
2) Title Registration
Both have existed side-by-side since 1889 and are managed by the Land Registry in the Registrar General Office.
The Land Registration Act, 1981
Registration of land under the above is regulated by two ordinances:
Registration of Deeds Ordinance,1885
Conveyancing and Law of Property Ordinance, 1940
They require that the original title deeds of a land parcel be deposited in the Land Registry, as evidence of the land
transaction. This system is favoured for its simplicity of procedure and the low cost of registration and although it provides
evidence of transactions which are recorded, it should be remembered that registration of a transaction is voluntary.
Moreover, the Deed Registration System does not require an official survey of the land so any land tenure drawings may
be lacking or imprecise.
This system was introduced via the Real Property Ordinance, 1889. The advantages of the title system are that a certificate
of title is issued for every land parcel registered and an approved survey of the land parcel is required for registration.
The Land Registry keeps the following records of land registered under the title system:
Real property index
Real property journal
Index of Lis Pendens (Index of suits concerning title to land)
The title register contains the original certificate of title, the instrument of transaction and the cadastral survey plans.
Individual records are retrieved using: the certificate of title number, the book volume number, and the folio number.
The main problem of the system is the long time it takes to retrieve information.
Provisions in the legislation were made for the transfer of lands already registered under the deed system to the title system.
Few owners, however, have undertaken this option.
Over a period of time, the operation of the two existing registry laws will be replaced by the the Registration of Titles to Land
Act (16/2000), the Land Adjudication Act (14/2000), and the Land Tribunal Act (15/2000). These new laws are intended to
improve the reliability of the real property rights system in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is important that the above mentioned documents required for the operation of the existing laws will receive enhanced
protection and renewal during the transition period to the new Land Title Legislative Package. Furthermore, at the
appropriate time, it is hoped that the old land records will be transferred in good order to an enlarged and better equipped
National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago.
The Terra Institutue/Ministry of Agriculture stated in 1999 that 47% of households in the country did not have adequate
documentation of rights to the land on which their houses were built. In addition, 55 % of farmers did not have documented
rights to the land they farmed. This situation may affect your family history research.
FORTHCOMING CHANGES TO LAND REGISTRATION
The Registration of Titles to Land (Amendment) Bill, 2012
The Registration of Titles to Land (Amendment) Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Senate on 6 March, 2012 by Senator the
Honourable Emmanuel George, Minister of Public Utilities.