The Jamaica Real Estate Act and regulations have detailed provisions imposing responsibility on dealers (primarily) and salesman to account for money relating to disposition or acquisition of Jamaican land received by any qualifications otherwise prescribed for applicants generally. The Board is however not bound to approve the applications even of such practitioners and has to satisfy itself as to the ability and experience of any such person or it may provisionally grant such an application. It should be noted that aside from the special provisions for these ‘experienced’ practitioners other provisions of the Act apply to them as to ‘new’ applicants. This mandate has serious implications for homes for sale in Jamaica by vendors.
The regulation of dealings in development schemes is one of the main objects of the Act. It defines the terms “development scheme” and “developer” and provides for the registration of developers; however it also describes the circumstances in which a person is required to register as a developer, and these are:
1) Where the number of lots or intended lots in the scheme exceeds five
2) Where the number of strata lots comprising building units in the scheme exceeds five
3) Where the person developing the scheme has within the preceding 24 months carried out another development scheme.
In particular, a vendor who enters into a prepayment contract in breach of the conditions specified is subject to having a purchaser withdraw from the contract and recover the moneys paid together with interest even if the vendor has committed no other breach of the contract. This is crucial point for homes for sale in Jamaica.
The primary obligation of every developer as vendor under a prepayment contract is to account for funds received from any purchaser pursuant to such a contract.
Accordingly the developer is required to:
a) Deposit prepayment contract money in a trust account with an authorized financial institution.
b) Report every lodgment of such moneys to the Board.
The Act prescribes procedures and obligations with respect to moneys in trust accounts. The Act also declares the real estate practitioner holding client’s’ money to be a trustee of such money on behalf of:
a) The person entitled to receive it or make orders regarding its payment, for example, vendor whose property the salesman has sold.
b) The person who may become entitled to it in a certain event, however the practitioner must have received it as stakeholder (that is, being aware that some decision or event is pending which would determine entitlement to the funds).
Remedies available to the person entitled to the funds are extended due to the creation of a trust, because he can take action against the relevant practitioner for breach of trust. A real estate salesman or dealer employed to a broker is relieved of this trust upon payment of the funds to the vendor. Consistent with the trust relationship is the accounting and recording which is required of a real estate dealer or salesman in relation to clients money.The obligations to be met by a dealer regarding client money may be summarized as follows:
1. Payment of such money into a client account without delay, funds however need not be separated according to client.
2. Keeping of accounts and records relating to such money.
3. Explanation on request of all matters connected with such money.
4. Drawing up of accounts regarding such money and auditing of those accounts.
These are the basic rules, regulations and statute that guide homes for sale in Jamaica. It is crucial that both vendors and purchaser are cognizant of these laws and adhere to them as best they can.