Presently, the Non-Belongers Land Holding Regulation Act requires any Non-Belonger desirous of purchasing property to first obtain a Non-Belongers Landholding License (NBLHL). A NBLHL usually attaches specific conditions and/or restrictions to the use of the property. What are the consequences of not completing the required development within the prescribed time? What happens should the property owner decide to make design changes to a property after obtaining a NBLHL?
There are two scenarios which may exist at the time a NBLHL is granted to the property owner: where the land owned is undeveloped or where an existing structure is already in place on the land. In the case of undeveloped land, when applying for a License, the potential Licensee is required to set out the intended use and the nature and extent of the structure to be constructed on the property. For example the number of bed, bathrooms and any ancillary structure such as a swimming pool. The approval of the License is issued on the condition that the landowner completes the development in accordance with this intended use and the plan as outlined.
The Town and Country Planning Authority, as part of their approval process prior to the commencement of construction activity, is required to ensure that any development plan submitted for approval accords with the development required by the License. The Licensee will be required to carry out the development within a specified timeframe, usually three years. Under the Non-Belonger Land Holding Regulation Act, a failure to do so within the required time could attract a penalty, which in practice varies from upwards of five percent to a maximum of forty percent of the purchase price of the property. Officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour may conduct periodic site visits to verify the status of the development of the land and that the conditions of the License are being adhered to.
Extension of Time
In the event that a development will not be completed before the time allowed by the License, a land owner may make an application in writing to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour for an extension of time. Provided the application is made within a reasonable timeframe before the time under the License expires, subject to other requirements, an extension of time, up to one year, may be granted.
Where a Licensee desires to make structural changes to the building design or to an existing structure beyond what the License prescribes, permission must first be obtained through an amendment to the original License. An application for an amendment to a License must be made in writing to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour. The application must set out the nature of the intended changes in design or use of the property.
It is important to note, a License restricts a Non-belonger proprietor from selling, altering or varying the property without first obtaining permission to do so. In the event that a landholder wants to sell his/her property, they must notify the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour of their intent. Any existing breaches of the License may be identified and associated penalties could apply at this stage.
Potential Non-Belonger landowners need to know how to obtain a NBLHL and should also seek guidance on the nature of the applicability of the terms which are likely to be contained in the License. Additionally, professional, legal assistance can serve as an invaluable guide in order to avoid penalties for breaches of the NBLHL whenever a landowner intends to make changes beyond what is provided for in the License.
Disclaimer –The information contained in this article is for general information only. This information is not provided as advice for a specific matter and should not be construed as legal advice; neither does its publication create any attorney-client relationship. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. You should consult with an attorney-at-law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you might have.