Deed of Gift – Trinidad Law
By: Azaria Cheddie 13th July, 2020
Land registration systems in Trinidad
There are two systems under which land is registered in Trinidad & Tobago, namely:
- The old common law system of conveyancing; and
- The Real Property Ordinance (R.P.O.) system of conveyancing also known as the Torrens system.
The common law system is governed by the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act Chapter 56:01 and the R.P.O. system is governed by the Real Property Act, Chapter 56:02. To prove ownership of, or title to land, a person must show evidence of ownership. The document required to prove ownership depends on which system the land falls under. Under the common law system, a landowner proves title by a Deed of Conveyance. Under the R.P.O. system, the owner proves ownership by producing a Certificate of Title.
Deed of Gift / Memorandum of Transfer
Under the Registration of Deeds Act Chapter: 19:06, a “deed of gift” is defined as:
any Deed, or any instrument under the provisions of the Real Property Act, whereby any real property is transferred from one person to another gratuitously.
Under the Real Property Act Chapter 56:02, an “instrument” includes any document in writing relating to the transfer or other dealing with land or evidencing title thereto. When property registered under the R.P.O. system is transferred from one person to another gratuitously during one’s lifetime, this is effected via a document known as a “memorandum of transfer.”
According to Section 18 (2) of the Registration of Deeds Act Chapter: 19:06, only when a deed is registered in the correct manner will the estate or interest in land be passed:
No Deed of gift or settlement, until registered in manner hereinbefore prescribed, shall be effectual to pass any estate or interest in any land sought to be affected thereby, or to render such land liable as security for the payment of money.
Section 13 A stipulates that every deed presented for registration shall be accompanied with a cover sheet in duplicate, prepared by the Attorney-at-law presenting the Deed, containing the following particulars:
(a) the name of the Attorney and his admission number;
(b) type of Deed;
(c) names of parties to the Deed;
(d) date of execution;
(e) number of pages;
(f) reference to previous Deed or Deeds; and
(g) any other particulars, the Registrar General may from time to time determine by Regulation.
Section 18 (1) highlights that every deed of gift shall be registered within a period of twelve months from the date of the execution thereof:
.. and any such Deed of gift or settlement may be registered after the said period of twelve months upon payment to the Registrar General of a sum equal to five times the amount of the fees which would have been chargeable for registration if the Deed of gift or settlement had been registered within the said period, together with such further penalty not exceeding the sum of two thousand dollars as the President may think proper to impose.
The registration of any transactions with the land (e.g. a sale or mortgage) must be accompanied by the duplicate Certificate of Title. Section 33 states:
Every original grant or certificate of title bound in the Register Book shall have drawn on or attached to it a map of the land therein comprised, which map shall be provided by or at the expense of the applicant; and every certificate of title subsequently issued shall either have drawn on it or attached to it a map of the land therein comprised, and provided in like manner, or shall refer to a map in which such land is delineated and which is already contained in the Register Book.
Memorandum of Transfer
Real Property Act
The original of this document is kept in the Land/R.P.O. registry of the Registrar General’s Office and a duplicate of same is kept by the owner of the property or any other party who has an interest in the property.
Under the R.P.O. system, once a person’s interest in the property has been endorsed on the back of the original and duplicate Certificate of Title, that interest is said to be indefeasible. This effectively means that the title is guaranteed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the establishment of the Land Assurance Fund. Any person who has been fraudulently deprived of his/her interest in land can claim compensation from the Fund.
Stamp Duty is a tax that you must pay when carrying out certain transactions that require legal documents. Deeds of Conveyance, Deeds of Gift, Deeds of Mortgage, Release of Mortgage Loan, Release of Life Insurance Policies, Transfer of Shares, Deeds of Lease, Deed Polls, Bonds, and any other deeds, require “stamping”, which means you must pay duty.
How do I pay?
The attorney or the company transacting the business usually prepares the documents that require stamping and will make payment on your behalf. The documents are presented to the Inland Revenue Division by the attorney or company for stamping together with the necessary fees. The documents are processed and stamped accordingly.
How must does it cost?
The amount of stamp duty is usually a percentage of the value of the transaction you are undertaking.
Residential Property (Including Dwelling House)
Deed of Conveyance or Gift is used where residential property changes ownership. Residential Property is deemed to be land upon which a house has been built and used wholly or mainly for residential purposes.
Effective October 1st, 2008, the stamp duty applicable on deeds executed for the transfer of residential properties is as follows –
The sale or other disposal of residential properties valued at $850,000 or less SHALL BE EXEMPT from stamp duty.
The following rates of stamp duty SHALL BE payable on the sale or other disposal of residential properties (with dwelling house) whose values exceed $850,000:
- For every dollar of the first $400,000 in excess of $850,000 – 3%
- For every dollar of the next $500,000 – 5%
- For every dollar thereafter – 7.5%
Residential Property (Land Only)
The sale or disposal of residential land valued at $450,000 or less shall be EXEMPT from Stamp Duty.
The following rates of stamp duty SHALL BE payable on the sale or other disposal of residential land whose values exceed $450,000:
- For every dollar of the first $200,000 in excess of $450,000 – 2%
- For every dollar of the next $200,000 in excess of $650,000 – 5%
- For every dollar thereafter in excess of $850,000 – 7%
Non-Residential Rates (Commercial & Agricultural)
Non-Residential Transfers refer to commercial and agricultural properties. The stamp duty payable is:
|Up to||$300,000.00 TT||2%|
|Next||$100,000.00 TT||5% on the full amount|
|Over||$400,000.00 TT||7% on the full amount|
Ministry of Legal Affairs: Land Registry
Once the appropriate stamp duty has been paid, as certified by an embossed stamp affixed by the Board of Inland Revenue, the original transfer documents are lodged with the Registrar General’s Department and a registered copy will be delivered to the Purchaser as proof of his ownership of the land.
The registration fee payable for the old law system is typically TT$100.00 and TT$50.00 for the R.P.O. system.
The Attorneys’ fees charged for any conveyance are stipulated in the Legal Profession Act, 1986 Rules – The Attorneys-at-law (Remuneration) (Non-Contentious Business) Rules, 2017, as amended.
To view the act: https://lawassociationtt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/June-13-2017-Scale-Fees-Cmtee-Report-11-June-2017.pdf
1. Original Deed or Certificate of Title;
2. Where the property is registered under the RPA, the duplicate original Certificate of Title will also be required;
3. Lands and Buildings Tax Receipt (2009);
4. Copy of cadastral sheet showing said property & its boundaries;
5. Sub-division approval from Town & Country;
6. Mortgage & or Deed of Release if/where applicable applicable;
7. Current bills and receipts for Water and Sewerage Rates, and a WASA Clearance Certificate.
This post does not constitute or provide legal advice neither does it establish an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.