General Property Purchases

It is absolutely crucial for any person wishing to acquire property in Belize to obtain legal representation. It is far too common that purchasers discover, after the fact, that the property is subject to a mortgage, lien, outstanding taxes or simply does not belong to the purported vendor. In acting on behalf of a purchaser our duties would encompass the following:

  1. Drafting or reviewing and advising on the purchase contract;
  2. Conducting a title investigation;
  3. Ascertaining if there are any liens, charges, mortgages or other encumbrances over the property;
  4. Coordinating the discharge of any mortgage;
  5. Ensuring that the property taxes are fully paid up;
  6. Reviewing and advising on the by-laws and restrictive covenants (if any);
  7. Procuring the services of a land surveyor and/or valuer (if required);
  8. Registering a caution (if necessary);
  9. Drafting the title transfer documents;
  10. Providing escrow services;
  11. Overseeing the proper registration of the title transfer documents; and
  12. Ensuring that there is a sound closing in all other regards.

Our favourable rate for property acquisition is 2% of the purchase price or BZ$800.00, whichever is the greater. Some disbursements are also incurred which normally tally to around BZ$400.00. Stamp Duty is also payable to the Government of Belize on all property transfers at the rate of 5% on the purchase price in excess of BZ$20,000.00 (US$10,000.00 equivalent).

Strata (Condominum) Titles

The recent passage of the Strata Titles Registration Act, Chapter 196, Laws of Belize provides for the issuance of titles to condominiums (a.k.a. flying freeholds). Under this Act, a purchaser acquires title to their unit and also automatically becomes a member of the Homeowner's Corporation. The Homeowner's Corporation, by law, becomes the proprietor of all common area in the strata plan and is responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. However, strata titles introduce a new set of technical concerns for any purchaser such as:

  1. Revision of bylaws and restrictions
  2. Ensure legal description accords with contractual description of the unit
  3. Ensure all Homeowner's fees are paid up
  4. Ensure each unit is separately metered for utility services
  5. Revision of Rental Management Agreement (if any)
  6. Ascertain the identity of the executive committee of the Homeowner's Corporation and the principal contact

We can also represent property developers seeking to register a strata plan. A strata plan must be prepared in the prescribed forms and must consist of the required floor plan and the elevation drawings. The proper preparation of the purchase agreements, bylaws and rental management agreements are also crucial.

Escrow Services

Escrow services have become an integral component in property purchases. The purpose of escrow services is for a party to serve as custodian of the purchase proceeds pending closing and on terms agreed by the vendor and purchaser. All escrowed funds are deposited in a segregated trust account and as such are protected against any contingency. US currency escrow services is also available.

We prepare tailored escrow agreements which stipulate, inter alia, that the sale proceeds shall be disbursed only upon the instructions of both the vendor and purchaser. Our cost for escrow services is 0.5% of the purchase price or $600.00 (US$300.00) whichever is the greater.

Leases

We have extensive experience with landlord and tenant relationships, including preparation of residential, commercial and strata lease agreements. The Landlord and Tenant Act, Chapter 189, Laws of Belize, stipulates that all leases for a period in excess of three years shall be created by deed. The Registered Land Act, Chapter 194, Laws of Belize states that any lease for a period of two years or more must be in the prescribed form and must be registered. It is highly recommended, in the interest of certainty and for the protection of both the landlord and tenant, that a written lease be prepared for all tenancies of any duration.

We also represent landlords or tenants in any legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.

Other Services

  • Referral of certified architects and contractors
  • Referral of realtors
  • Advice on Timeshare
  • Advice and assistance with building approvals
  • Advice and assistance with hotel licenses
  • Legal Mortgages/Charges
  • Advice and assistance on subdivisions

Affiliations