by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Possessory Titles Act No 22 of 2016 came into force on 19 August 2016
- Act allows those being granted possessory title to be able to transfer property rights
In 2016 the Government of Grenada moved to pass the Possessory Titles Act granting applicants in adverse possession of property, to apply to the court for the possessory title once they have lived on that said property for a period no less than 12 years uninterrupted.
This act also allows those being granted possessory title to be able to transfer property rights or use their property as security to obtain credit from a financial institution.
According to Attorney at Law Jerry Edwin before the passing of the legislation, the aforementioned rights were not granted, meaning that a person was only given adverse possession, but they could not transfer property nor approach a financial institution.
Edwin said many instances where people are in possession of land for a number of years and do not have proper titles to the land. “Now it means that anyone who is in possession of land 12 years uninterrupted, and acts as the owner — meaning they are not tenants in Grenada — that person will receive a title that they can now transfer. This is very different from previous law which was the rule of adverse possession where a person will get a statutory deed. However, a statutory deed is as good as the paper it was printed on. You cannot transfer it.”
As of 2016, people wishing to obtain possessory title to land after 12 years of adverse possession, can make an application asking the court to grant said property once they have presented all relevant documentation. A determination will be made by the court on the validity of the application and once approved the court will issue a certificate of title.
Edwin says the cost implication for the applicant can be quite exorbitant. “There are some strings attached when obtaining possessory title including legal fees, advertising in the newspaper and the Gazette. I and several other colleagues have gone to the newspaper and said, please reduce the cost, and I know that my office has agreed to reduce the fees.”
Edwin said at present not much is known about the legislation by ordinary Grenadians. “25% of our population is living on a property of which they have no title to and some economists here indicated that it is upwards of $2 billion that is going by the wayside.”
The Possessory Titles Act No 22 of 2016 came into force on 19 August 2016.