More often than not, people get caught up in situations where their interests in immovable properties are threatened. This article serves as an enlightenment on how one can protect his/her interests in an immovable property registered in the name of another.
What is a property caveat
A property caveat is a notice recognized at law that informs the general public of a legal claim of interest in a property. It has the effect of delaying the purchase or sale of a property by serving as a formal notice to the public that an interest in the land or property in question exists. A property caveat can also be employed as means of delaying or staying a property transaction. A caveat is lodged with the office of the Registrar of Deeds so as to inform the public about an interest being claimed on the property.
Instances where one can apply for a placement of a caveat on the property.
Situations where caveats are applied for include situations where the property owner has pledged the property as security in order to secure a loan or to stay the sell or purchase of the property due to claims from a party claiming to interest in the property. One can also employ a caveat as a tool to safeguard interests of a third party being a victim of a double sale to prevent and or delay the transfer of the property pending the finalization of issues and pursuance of other remedies at law which include court litigation.
Exercise of discretion by the Registrar of Deeds in placement of caveats
The Registrar of Deeds is empowered to place a caveat over someone's property in one of two ways the first instance being with the consent of the registered owner of the property. If the owner of the property consents to the placement of the caveat the Registrar shall place the caveat on the property. This could be done to protect the interests of a creditor with whom they have a contract. In the absence of the property owner's consent, the second instance is when a court order instructs the Registrar of Deeds to place a caveat on the property. A person who intends to have a caveat placed over the property of another may file an application with the court for the placement of such.
Requirements for placement of a caveat on the property through a court order
If one intends to have a property of another caveated, he or she has the onus to demonstrate their interest in the property. It is a prerequisite in this regard therefore that, the alleged interest must be existent at the moment the application for the placement of caveat is placed before the court and cannot be one that will arise after the fact. Only interests related to the land are eligible to be the subject of a caveat.
In essence, for an application for placement of a caveat on the property of another to sail through, the applicant must prove that he or she has a caveatable interest in the property in question, that the interest is in existence at the time the application is made and lastly, that the claim is arising from some dealing with the registered property.
Each requirement outlined above ought to be applied to the facts as each matter must be determined according to its own facts and given circumstances.
In conclusion, when faced with a circumstance where one's interest in an immovable property and is worried about incurring financial loss, it is advisable that he or she institutes process before the property owner tries to transfer the property before one's interest in it has been satisfied.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.