In rural Jamaica we are familiar with the common practice of land being gifted from one generation to the next. This land is often divided among family members where one person owns “di piece up a top” and another “di piece from di mango tree to the fence.”
This division of land is analogous to a subdivision – the process of dividing a parcel of land into a number of lots and obtaining individual titles (splinter titles) for each lot. All subdivisions must be approved by the relevant parish Municipal Corporation before the land can be divided into the various lots. The Manchester Municipal Corporation located on Hargreaves Avenue, approves subdivision plans for lands located in the parish.
The subdivision process is challenging and will require the services of professionals such as an Attorney-at-Law and a Commissioned Land Surveyor. The Surveyor will prepare the subdivision plan and prepare the application forms. A subdivision plan is a large-scale map showing the surveyed land space as well as other information required by the Municipal Corporation such as the number of lots you plan to divide the land into and the name and widths of the existing and proposed roads. Where it is found that the subdivision plan has not been accurately prepared and is not in accordance with the Land Surveyors Act, the plan will be rejected
Ten (10) copies of the application form must be submitted along with the following documents: Twenty (20) subdivision plans
A certified copy of the Duplicate Certificate of Title
Surveyor’s Identification Report
Certificate of Valuation
Construction Drawings and Property Tax Certificate.
Where the subdivision involves ten (10) or more lots an Environmental Permit as well as an Environmental Licence must also be obtained from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (‘NRCA’). Registration fees are payable in full at the time of submitting the application.
The application is reviewed by various Government Agencies. These include the National Environment Planning Agency (‘NEPA’), the National Works Agency, National Water Commission, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Land and Environment. Once final approval is granted by the Municipal Corporation, the applicant can proceed to the National Land Agency for the second stage of the process that is, applying for individual titles for each of the lots. This process is completed by the National Land Agency. Next week we will focus on obtaining the splinter titles.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)