Bahamas Government Seeks To Address Land Reform

A proper land registration system in the Bahamas could soon become a reality, as the government seeks to address the need for land reform.

For decades, attorneys, realtors and investors have voiced concerns over land titles issues in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas government recently announced plans to prepare a formal white paper on the creation of a long awaited national system of land registration in the country.

A national system of land registration will immediately bring the process of resolving all unresolved land titles issues in The Bahamas to an end, and thereby modernize and simplify all land-related issues.

Such a system will ultimately improve the Bahamas’ ‘ease of doing business’. Currently the Bahamas ranks 167th out of 190 countries on The World Bank’s annual report when it comes to registering property, largely because of the time taken to complete transactions (122 days or three-four months) due to the need to undertake title searches and record conveyances at the Registry of Records.

A complete and accurate Land Registry database could significantly reduce the time and cost associated with both commercial and residential real estate deals. This would boost the Bahamas’ economic competitiveness and attraction for both foreign and local investors, since typical problems currently encountered in establishing good title would be eliminated or reduced.

The government’s reform plans ill address: the provision of good title to land; the creation of a national system of land registration in a standalone registry; the ability for all claims and charges affecting title for every title or tract of land in The Bahamas to be registered in a registry; and provision for the accurate circulation of the full extent of Crown lands and the specific locations of every tract.

The law reform commissioner will lead public consultation and prepare the final version of several existing draft bills to bring a full system of land registration and other land reforms in full and effective operation.

These are the Land Adjudication Bill, the Registered Land Bill and the Law of Property Bill, all of which date from 2010. These were all designed to give commercial and residential real estate buyers greater certainty they had good title to their properties.

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