MEMORANDUM FOR THE USE OF A FOREIGN
PURCHASER OF LAND IN ST. LUCIA
1. In this memorandum all references to Dollars are to East Caribbean Currency Dollars (EC$). The current rate of exchange is 2.6882 Dollars to the United States Dollar.
2. By custom, all expenses incurred in preparing, executing, stamping and registration of all documents (contracts, deeds, conveyances, Leases, Licenses, Power of attorney etc) are for the account of the Purchaser.
3. LICENCE – Non St. Lucians must obtain an Aliens Landholding Licence from Government to purchase and hold the property as owner (or as Lessees) and a one time non-refundable application fee is payable at the time of making the application for the licence to purchase or lease land. The full licence fee payable to the Government is based on the size of the property being purchased. The application fee and the licence fee payable for a licence to purchase or lease are set out in the attached schedule. This full licence fee is payable after notification of Government’s approval of the licence. The purchaser’s Attorney/Notary usually handles this application process and the Attorney’s/Notary’s fee for obtaining the licence and preparing the subsequent Deed of Sale are also set out in the Schedule attached hereto. A Licence takes two to three months to process. The purchaser must provide his Solicitor/Notary with the following before the application can be made:
- Particulars of present ownership of the land
- Purpose for which the land is to be utilised
- A survey plan of the land
- The $1,500.00 application fee
- Police certificate of good character from applicant’s country of domicile (this can take some time to obtain and can be provided after the application is made)
- A statutory declaration of good character by the applicant
- An Aliens Licence application form duly completed
- Four photographs of the applicant
- A full set of fingerprints of the applicant
- A banker’s reference for the applicant.
- A Personal reference by someone who has known the applicant for a reasonable period of time
- Copies of the information pages of the Applicant’s passport
4. The usual practise is for the Vendor and the Purchaser to enter into an Agreement for the purchase/sale of the property. This agreement is normally drawn up by the Purchaser’s Attorney/Notary and registered in the St. Lucia Land Registry as a caution against the property to be sold which effectively prevents its sale or disposition by the Vendor during the period covered by the Agreement for sale. If the Purchaser is out of St. Lucia it is preferable and easier for him/her to give a Power of Attorney to someone in the Attorney’s Office to sign the Agreement for sale and the subsequent Deed of Sale (i.e the conveyance).
5. Contracts for the sale of land are binding on the signatories and can only be avoided:
- By the Vendor – for breach of its express terms by the Purchaser or upon the Vendor returning twice the amount of the deposit to the Purchaser unless the particular piece of property is so special that the doctrine of specific performance could be invoked in the Courts.
- By the Purchaser – if an Alien, his aliens landholding licence is refused by the Government of St. Lucia or the Vendor has breached the express terms of the contract. If the licence application is refused, the Vendor must return the deposit. The Government does not return the application fee payable on application if it refuses the Licence.
6. CONVEYANCING in St. Lucia under the new land Registration Act 1984 is by instrument in notarial form (in St. Lucia all Attorneys are Notaries and their conveyancing functions are performed in their capacity as Notaries) duly registered at the Land Registry. The Land Registry allocates a Block and Parcel Number for each piece of land. A certificate is also issued by the Land Registry showing all subsisting entries in the Land Register affecting that land. Both parties appear before the executing Notary to whom they declare the conditions governing the conveyance. It follows that under the Notarial system both parties can be represented by the same Notary. It is the duty of the Notary to conduct the appropriate searches in the Land Registry and in the Office of Deeds and Mortgages. If the Purchaser does not wish to attend before the Notary in St. Lucia personally, he can appoint an Attorney to act on his behalf. A draft of an appropriate Power of Attorney can be sent to you on request.
The stamp duty payable on the Deed of Sale and the registration fee (the amounts of which are also shown in the Schedule) are paid by the Purchaser to the Notary who attends to the stamping of the conveyance and its registration in the Registry of Lands. The Notary will also prepare two (or more as required) certified copies of the original conveyance. After registration the original conveyance and one other certified copy is returned to the Notary who must, by law, retain the original. The other certified copy is sent to the Purchaser. The Vendor pays a Vendor’s tax to the Government which in the case of an Alien is 10% of the sale price of the land. There is no capital gains tax in St. Lucia but the Vendor’s Tax can be taken to be its equivalent.
All amounts in this Schedule are in Eastern Caribbean Currency
(US1.00 = ECC $2.6882)
- Non refundable application fee payable to Government at the time of making the application for the licence $1,500.00
- Licence fees payable to Governemnt when the Grant of the Licence is approved by Government are as follows:
- Licence to purchase or to hold land Up to:
- Acre – $ 5,000.00
- Over 1 acre and up to 10 acres – $10,000.00
- Over 10 acres and up to 20 acres – $20,000.00
- Over 20 acres and up to 50 acres – $30,000.00
- Over 50 acres and up to 100 acres – $40,000.00
- Over 100 acres – $50,000.00
- Licence to lease land 2% of the aggregate rental payable in respect of the full duration of the lease
- Registration fee payable to Government for registering licence at the Land Registry $40.00
- Stamp Duty payable to Government on the Deed of Sale for purchase of the property 2% of the purchase price plus $10.00
- Registration fee payable to Government for Registration of Deed of Sale $40.00
- Attorney’s/Notary’s fees for obtaining Aliens Licence and preparing and registering Deed of Sale 3% to 5% of the purchase price McNamara & Co. will charge 3% except where there are unusual difficulties in obtaining the Aliens Licence.
- Power of Attorney (if one is necessary) – $350.00.
- On being instructed we would require a deposit of $300.00 to cover incidental expenses associated with the application. This will be accounted for at the completion of the transaction.