What You Need to Know About Buying Land & Buildings in Dominica
Invest Dominica Authority offers site selection assistance for investors looking to purchase land or existing buildings, or wishing to develop property on the island. In addition, we recommend securing the services of a licensed real estate professional.
STEPS TAKEN WHEN PURCHASING LAND IN DOMINICA
- The buyer must first provide the agent with a written offer for the property that you are interested in purchasing.
- This offer is presented to the Seller/Owner.
- Once the owner accepts, the agent presents you with a ‘letter of acceptance’ and a ‘Statement of transaction’ – to include purchase price, transfer, legal & survey/valuation fees.
- If you have accepted this ‘Statement of transaction’ a Lawyer is then employed to write up a corresponding Purchase & Sale Agreement.
- A Valuation is made on the property by a license Surveyor. (Transfer & Legal fees must either be calculated on this Valuation or on the property’s Purchase price –whichever is higher).
- You need also have a Surveyor (usually same) prepare new Survey Plans when applying for the changeover of Title.
- In most cases, you may be required to pay a 10% deposit on the purchase price in order to secure the property. This amount could be required upon signing the Purchase & Sale Agreement –which would also indicate the date for paying the balance of the purchase price
- This 10% deposit may either be made out to the owner where there is no hindrance against the title or to the agent or the Lawyer who would hold such deposit in escrow. With this, a refund could be made to you if the owner is not able to pass good title.
- To complete the sale you need to pay the balance of the purchase price and all fees to the Lawyer as per the Purchase & Sale Agreement.
- The Lawyer prepares a Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) which is executed by the owner and after payment of the prerequisite transfer fees at the Treasury, presents the MOT along with other relevant documents (title forms, survey plans, valuation and the original duplicate title obtained from the owner) to the Land Registry for the processing of a title in your name as the new owner.
NON NATIONALS WISHING TO PURCHASE LAND/PROPERTY
According to a revision of Dominica’s Land Owners Act in April 2008, Individuals or corporate bodies who are not citizens of one of the member states and who are seeking to acquire land may require an Alien Land Holding license prior to the execution of the transaction depending on the amount of land to be purchased. In the case of the acquisition of land for commercial purposes, the Minister must publish in the Gazette areas in Dominica in which an alien may not acquire land without obtaining a license under the Act.
LICENSE REGULATION ACT
The Alien Land Holding License Regulation Act, No. 17 of 1995 of the Laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica, provides for the issuance of Alien Land Holding License.
- An alien may hold less than one (1) acre of land for residential purposes or less than three (3) acres of land for commercial purposes without obtaining an alien landholding license. However, the alien landholding license fee of 10% of the value of the land is payable.
- An alien may not hold more than one (1) acre of land for residential purposes or three (3) acres of land for commercial purposes without first holding a license;
- On acquiring a license, the applicant must pay a fee equivalent to 10% of the market value of the land to government
- In the case of the acquisition of land for commercial purposes, the Minister must publish in the Gazette areas in Dominica in which an alien may not acquire land without obtaining a license under the Act.
This License is issued for a specific piece of property to a specific owner and is non-transferable. An application for this License can only be made when a deposit has been placed on a property. The application should contain:
- Particulars of the Ownership, location and current value of the property in question.
- The purpose for which the property is to be utilize
- The land Plan – prepared by a licensed surveyor.
- Application Fee Receipt.
- Any other information required by the Minister.
With the exception of Agricultural Development, the application must contain an approval from the Planning Division for any Development Project.
FEES PAYABLE FOR PURCHASE OF LAND:
- 10% Alien Landholders Fee
- 2% Stamp Duty
- 1% Judicial Fees
- 2.5 % Solicitor’s Fee
- 1% Assurance Fund
- 3% Legal Fees (+15% VAT)
- Not inclusive of ‘Valuation’ and ‘Survey Fees’, this is charged separately. If the Lawyer is registered for payment of Value added tax (VAT), the legal fees would also attract 15% VAT.
- The Seller pays 2.5% Stamp Duty on the market value of the property or the purchase price, whichever the greater.
PERMISSION FOR CONSTRUCTION: HOW YOU GO ABOUT GETTING PERMISSION TO BUILD IN DOMINICA
A completed development application for planning permission in respect of new buildings and extensions should contain the following information:
- Proof of Ownership Document:
- A copy of a Certificate of Title
- A copy of receipt of purchase of land/property
- Note from a solicitor confirming that application is being made for a Certificate of Title to which the plan relates
- Notarized note from the owner of the land confirming that the land to which the plans relates, has been given to the applicant for development
- One copy of the Survey Plan of the land to which the plans relates
- All Plans must be submitted in triplicate. All drawings with the exception of the Location Plan must be drawn to scale.
- Applications must be accompanied by Location Plan, Site Plan, Floor Plan, Foundation Plan, Elevations, Roof Plans, Cross Sections, Beams and Framing Plan.
- Environmental Impact Assessment may be required as deemed necessary by the Physical Planning Division.
PURCHASE OF STATE LANDS: DOMINICA’S STATE OWNED LANDS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT
- Submit application to the Commissioner of Lands/Director of Surveys. No application fee is required.
- Application is submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for approval.
- Decision is taken by Cabinet
- Fees are payable once the land sale is approved and the documents are processed.
- Available lands for investment.