Lease to Freehold Title Project to Commence

Belmopan - 10 January, 2006.
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Local Government and the Environment, through the Lands and Surveys Department will officially launch a Lease to Freehold Title Project on 23rd January 2006 in Dangriga Town.

This one-year project is a national initiative, which begins with leaseholders of residential lots of one acre or less but will eventually extend to other lessees.

The Lease to Freehold Title Project is part of Government’s commitment to provide land security for Belizeans. The overall project objectives fall within government’s agenda for national land tenure reform and promoting appropriate methodologies to improve land tenure security for urban and rural areas.

In collaboration with other land programme initiatives, such as the Land Management Programme and its components, the project is complemented by Government initiatives for institutional strengthening, improvement of processes for land tenure security governance and property rights at the national level and within the proposal for decentralized land-use management.

Through this project, Government will chart the way forward for improved mechanisms for land security aligned with initiatives for land development.

Additionally, with land as one of the main faucets of development, Government will initiate this project not merely to strengthen land security but also to expand access to socio-economic opportunities for Belizeans. Subsequently, the new title enhances the landowner’s financial capability, such as using it as collateral at any of the major lending institutions.

As part of the Lease to Freehold Project’s components for applicants, leaseholders must submit their application for the subsequent purchasing of their land and the Lands and Surveys Department will waive the land development requirement and other conditions to allow applicants to secure their titles. Upon applicants purchasing their property, an official Land Title Certificate will be issued within one month.

Following the official launching to take place in Dangriga Town, the Lease to Freehold Project team will visit other towns and cities. The team of Lands and Surveys Department officials will assist with application and processing on specific dates to be announced shortly.

The following is an outline of the requirements and procedures for application:
Step 1: Requirements

The applicant must:

1. Fill out application form
2. present a valid lease agreement, lease certificate or fiat
3. present a valid social security card
4. have a $10.00 stamp
5. visit the Lands Office in person

NB: upon application, an applicant will be given a date to pick-up his/her letter of purchase price.

Step 2: Processing

1. Lands Inspector will conduct land inspection and verification
2. The Lands and Surveys Department verifies information
3. The purchase price is automatically calculated based on the location/zone and acreage.

NB: The period for processing, letter of purchase price and preparation of Purchasing Agreement is three (3) weeks.

Step 3: Approval and Purchase Agreement

1. The Applicant will need to visit the Lands Office for letter of approval and sign purchase agreement.

Step 4: Payment and Issuing of Title

1. Full payment must be made within three (3) months of signing the Purchase Agreement
2. Upon payment, the lease certificate, lease agreement or fiat must be surrendered.
3. Certificates or grant fiats (in cases of undeclared areas) will be issued within a four (4)-week period.

For an application form or more information, visit the Lands Office in your area or go online at www.mnrei.gov.bz or contact the Lands and Surveys Department at 822-2249 or 822-2082.