What We Do
The Land Laws of Belize are derived mainly from the Common Law and English Statutes of the 19th century. This statute governs all land transactions of Belize.
It was the consequence of a consultancy study in 1972 funded by the British Government which highlighted the problems and inadequacies with land registration in Belize Subsequently recommendations were accepted and action taken by the Government of Belize.
The Belize Land Registry of the Land and Surveys Department was officially opened in May, 1978 after the enactment of the Registered Land Ordinance 1977 currently the Registered Land Act.
The Registered Land Act was aimed at providing for security of land ownership or tenure and expediting the granting of leases and titles at a low cost. Transfers, accordingly becomes easier, quicker and cheaper. The Registered Land Act also provides for the declaration of compulsory registration areas, registration procedures and prescribed forms and means of dealing in registered land.
There are two types (categories) of Land in Belize. They are: (a) Undeclared Land & (b) Declared Land). The Land Registry operates under the authority of The Registered Land Act (RLA) – Chapter 194 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000. The Strata Titles Registration Act – Chapter 196 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000 and The General Registry Act (GRA) Chapter 327 of the Substantive Laws of Belize Revised Edition, 2000.
Under the RLA, it is responsible for the registration and dealing of all lands situate within the declared compulsory registration areas in the Country. The Strata Titles Registration Act is a follow-up to the RLA and allows for units resulting from the horizontal or vertical divisions or subdivisions of buildings on a common property, to be registered with freehold title. The General Registry Act is responsible for the registration and dealing of all that is not within the compulsory registration areas at the Land Title Unit.
The Land Registry Section works closely with the Surveys and Mapping Section, which updates the Land folio Maps through the mutation system and National Estate Section in the registration of national lands which falls within these registration sections. It is the objective of the Department to eventually bring the whole country under one system i.e. under the RLA to assure more secure land tenure and administration system.
The Land Registry guarantees title to registered estates and interests in land. It records the ownership rights of freehold properties, and leasehold properties where the lease has been granted for a term exceeding seven years.
Legally, there are two types of registrable titles being (a) absolute titles and (b) provisional titles. For absolute titles copies of documents showing proof of ownership are submitted or where persons are able to prove long undisturbed possession of their lands and do not possess deeds. Possession goes back 12 years of more. Provisional titles are granted if documents are not produced and if long undisturbed possession cannot be proved. In this case, a note must be made on the register stating the period in which provisional occupation commenced and the condition to which the titles is subject to.
The Land Registry is currently encouraging property owners whose property is not registered to make voluntary applications for registration. Although there are over 225,000 registered properties in Belize, only just over half of the land mass is registered. Much of this land is rural property in the hands of large institutional landowners.
Since December 1978, the Land Register has been open to the public. For a fee anyone can request for a copy of the Register, find out the name and address of the current owner of any registered property or obtain a copy of any registered title. This service will soon be available online.
Transactions (transfers) done for Undeclared Land in Belize has to be recorded at the Titles Registry. On the other hand, transactions done for Declared Lands are to be registered at the Land Registry. Both Registry offices are located in Belmopan (Cayo District). There is one Land Registry office throughout Belize, which is located in Belmopan. The Land Registry is responsible for the registration of land transactions.
The Land Registry Section of the Lands and Survey Department is comprised of the Land Registry Unit and the Land Titles Unit. The units operate independent of each other, have different procedures in place for effecting their functions and operate under different legislations. They are also physically separated with the Land Registry Unit being located on the ground floor of the Ministry Headquarters in Belmopan and the Land Titles Unit is located on Hibiscus Plaza near the Angelus Press building.
The Land Registry is managed by a Land Registrar. Other officers include the Deputy Registrar, two Assistant Registrars Grade 1, two Assistant Registrars Grade 2, two Senior Registry Clerks and eight Registry Clerk.
The Land Title unit is managed by a Title Officer; other officers include a Land Inspector and two clerks.
LAND REGISTRAR AND DEPUTY REGISTRAR
PAST TO PRESENT 1978-2010
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – WILLIAM TILLETT- 1978
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – MARJORIE PETZOLD
AG. DEPUTY REGISTRAR – ORLANDO VASQUEZ
REGISTRAR OF LAND – KENNETH FAIRWEATHER
AG. REGISTRAR – JOSE CARDONA
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – ENID WELCH
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – ANTONIO CAWICH
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – TALBERT BRACKETT
AG. DEPUTY REGISTRAR – ETHEL GLADDEN -2009-
REGISTRAR-MARJORIE PETZOLD – 2009-
REGISTRAR-BARONI HERNANDEZ – 2010-
DEPUTY REGISTRAR – PATRICIA ROBATEAU PEREZ – 2010-
REGISTRAR – BARONI HERNANDEZ-2010-