MANAGING ESTATE PROPERTIES
The Property Unit of the Agency has a responsibility to optimize the net value of all properties it manages. All maintenance, operating and day-to-day property management activities are coordinated and executed by this Unit.
The maintenance of a property or the payment of bills is undertaken by the Unit subject to the availability of funds.
RENTAL OF PROPERTIES
Estate properties that are monitored and maintained by the Agency are rented in order to generate income for the estate. The process begins with a prospective tenant expressing an interest in the property available for rental.
A screening process is undertaken then the terms and conditions of the lease agreement are discussed with the prospective tenant and once mutually agreed, the agreement is signed.
Rent is due and payable on the first of each month and is collected by property agents, who are appointed by the Agency or directly paid into the Agency.
The rental income that is generated from an estate is used for property maintenance and improvements, insurance, payment of property taxes and also to assist in maintaining beneficiaries.
SALE OF PROPERTIES
Whenever the sale of a property is contemplated the beneficiaries are advised in writing of the proposed sale and the consent of all adult beneficiaries must be obtained. Properties are considered for sale for the following reasons:
- If there is a conflict among beneficiaries with regards to the property being transferred to all;
- If all the beneficiaries request that the Department sell the property on their behalf;
- If the only asset is the property and there are minor beneficiaries in the estate;
- If the estate is in debt and there is no other way to clear the indebtedness;
- Order from the Court.
A valuation report is requested from an external/independent Valuator. Upon receipt of the valuation report, the property is then advertised for sale in a widely circulated newspaper inviting prospective purchasers to place their bids for the property. Approximately six weeks is given from the date of the advertisement in which offers are to be submitted to the Department. After the six-week period, offers received are reviewed along with the valuation to decide on whether it will be accepted.
Once an offer is accepted, an acceptance letter is sent to the successful bidder or his Attorney requesting that he/she attends the Department for an interview. The purpose of this interview is to determine how the purchase of the property will be financed as well as to facilitate the drafting of the various clauses of the Sale Agreement. The purchaser must also be made aware of the following statutory duties and costs that he/she will have to bear:
- One-half cost of Stamp Duty;
- One-half cost of Registration Fee;
- One-half cost of Sale Agreement preparation;
- One-half cost of Letters of Possession;
- The purchaser should also be informed that in seeking a mortgage he/she will have additional costs, for example, valuation report, surveyors fee, Mortgage Registration Fees etc.
A Sale Agreement will be prepared by the Department’s Legal Section in which it is stated that the prospective purchaser must make a deposit of ten percent (10%) of the sale price and a further payment of five percent (5%) on account of the purchase price. This fifteen percent (15%) must be paid on the signing of the Agreement. This will be used to cover the total Transfer Tax, Stamp Duty and Registration Fees.
Sale Agreements normally set a ninety (90) day period for completion, as this is the time given for balance of the purchase money to be paid. Depending on the circumstances this period of time may be extended to one hundred and twenty days (120). The Sale Agreement is first signed by the purchaser(s) and returned with the requisite fifteen percent (15%) deposit for the signature of the Administrator-General.
The Instrument of Transfer may be prepared simultaneously with the Sale Agreement or after the Sale Agreement has been duly stamped. The Department tends to have both documents prepared especially when the signing parties reside abroad to save time. Where Transfers are sent to the U.S.A for signature of the parties, the document must be returned with a County Clerk’s Certificate. This Certificate indicates that the Notary Public who witnessed the signature of the purchaser was so commissioned as a Notary Public at the time when he witnessed said signature(s).
On the return of the Transfer document to the Department, it is submitted to the Administrator-General for her signature and will be witnessed and dated. The Transfer along with the Sale Agreement is then sent to the Stamp Commissioner for cross stamping. Once cross-stamped the Duplicate Certificate of Title, Instrument of Transfer, original Sale Agreement and original receipt of stamping in duplicate issued by the Stamp Commissioner are sent to the Registrar of Titles with a cheque for the Registration Fees to facilitate the endorsement of the purchaser(s) name on the title.
The final stage in the sale process is the preparation of the Letters of Possession. These are:
- Letters to the utility companies to indicate change of ownership;
- A letter of possession for the purchaser;
- Any other letter necessary to ensure a smooth change of ownership.