Registration in the Bahamas

He begins by emphasising the need for attorneys and conveyancers to protect the interest of their clients in property transactions, as the consequences of sloppy conveyancing could be far-reaching in terms of financial loss to clients, but also to attorneys, whose reputation, integrity and competence may suffer. Although registration of instruments ensures that the data and terms of every document affecting land are recorded in public registers, such registration does not cure defects in the instrument, nor does it confer any validity which it would otherwise not have had.

It does not protect against fraud or duress and suchlike. This said registration does have legal consequences because non-registration will produce three unpleasant effects:

  • Non-registration may render certain documents void.
  • Non-registration of instruments affecting land may also render them inadmissible as evidence in a judicial proceeding.
  • Non-registration of instruments affecting land may make them lose priority as against registered ones affecting the same land. Registration can therefore not be ignored, neglected or delayed.
He notes that a system of registration of titles to land ensures that the title of every land/property owner is thoroughly investigated once and for all and placed on the public register, a perusal of which will give an intending purchaser all the necessary information about previous dealing in the land.

He would like to see a comprehensive over-hauling of the Bahaman land/ real property registration system in the interest of more transparent and straightforward real estate transactions. As this will ensure a better system of registered land conveyancing which will in turn assure the most absolute security and certainty of title, to land owners and prospective purchasers.

It is an interesting article, in which he draws attention to how meticulous and painstaking conveyancing is - an activity where sloppiness has no place.

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