Bill to extend property registration
Parliament is considering whether to add five years to an upcoming deadline for registering private properties, after a new Land and Titles Registration Act amendment was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
The deadline for registration of private property currently lapses in March 2021.
However, the new amendment seeks to have the lapse delayed until March 2026. Affected under this amendment are private properties.
During his weekly radio programme with 2AP, Prime Minister Tuileapa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi explained the amendment is related to the registration of private land.
“This [amendment] specifically targets private properties," he said. "In 2008 , this law was passed for all private properties to be registered under the Land and Titles Registration Act.
"In the past, there were deeds to the properties, but because of the continuous problems where deeds are misplaced and properties are being sold without official documents.”
According to the Prime Minister in the past, people lodged complaints about such matters.
“Some people want to return the land because there is no deed, but the money had already been used; these were the issues that led to the registration of private property onto the Torren system.”
Tuilaepa reaffirmed the Torren’s Land System has no legal effect on customary land ownership, as it applies only to freehold land.
“In 2008 the public expressed concerns that customary lands will be affected, but that is not the case,” said the Prime Minister.
He explained the registration of private property was given a timeframe for 12 years from 2008 and it’s due to expire next year.
“However the anticipation that 12 years will be sufficient time for all private properties to be registered but apparently not, there are private properties that are affected in court cases, most especially family estates, hence the amendment for an additional five years,” said the Prime Minister.
The explanatory memorandum of the measure says the current period in section 18 is 12 years from the commencement of the Act.
“The period of 12 years expires in March 2021. Due to the need to defer the expiration period, the Bill seeks to amend section 12 to add a further five years to the expiration period. The new expiration period will therefore lapse in 2026.”
The relevant Ministry overseeing this act is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.