Jamaica’s National Land Agency (NLA) launched its new online anti-property fraud service, Property Watch, at the recent Jamaica National Group Expo held at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, Ontario.
The event brought together companies in the JN (Jamaica National ) Group, government agencies and real estate developers and construction companies to provide a one-stop information centre for Jamaicans in Canada and others seeking to invest in Jamaica.
Lori-Ann Thompson, Director of Business Services at the NLA, explaining the reason for the launch of Property Watch, noted that “there are a lot of issues for Jamaicans in the Canadian Diaspora… when they return to Jamaica, they sometimes find their property occupied by somebody they don’t know – or their title has been transferred.”
She pointed out that in many cases, the nature of the frauds are identity theft committed by relatives or persons known to the owner.
Jamaica’s Registrar of Titles, Cheriese Walcott, said that although the numbers are not alarming, the issue is one of concern for the NLA. “However, one case is enough for us to have a problem,” she said.
The service is available for registered properties only and can be accessed by owners, their personal representatives, or attorneys by registering on the agency’s website at www.nla.gov.jm and paying a subscription fee.
Once registered, persons whose property become subject to fraud will be notified by text or email when a transaction has been lodged against the Certificate of Title or multiple Certificates of Title. The victim must then respond within 48 hours to indicate whether they are aware of such a transaction.
“You can go to court to address the problem, but the cost of going to court is expensive. Therefore, if we can ‘catch it’, we will alert you that something is amiss about your property. And, then you can advise the Registrar so that we can put a stop to it,” Thompson said.