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The Legal Stuff . . .

Dominica Ocean View

To help you with your planning to buy property in the Caribbean, We asked Cecily Lees a lawyer and real estate agent on the Island of Dominica to prepare some comments, so you would be aware of issues when buying on the island. We have added our comments.

Real Estate Issues when buying in Dominica by Cecily Lees
Lawyer and Real estate agent


Before putting your offer in writing, check that the person who purports to be the owner is indeed the owner and the sole owner, as joint ownership requires the agreement of all parties.

The properties we have for sale are owned by us and we will provide documentation to that effect.


Ask for a copy of the title documents and from that you will see whether there are any caveats (these usually pertain to mortgages). If there is no title document, the land is unregistered and you should consult a lawyer before going further.

We have clear title to the properties and will provide copies of the deed/title along with a recent survey.


If buying a plot from a larger portion of land, check that the owner has obtained planning permission to sell the smaller piece, i.e. to subdivide. If not, you may not get planning permission to build your house.

We do have 3 approximately one acre lots with survey and are prepared to assist in obtaining the necessary permissions

Buying a house:

If you are buying a house and have any concerns about the quality of construction, obtain a structural survey. Unless this is specified, when your attorney tells you that he will obtain a survey, he is referring only to a survey of the land.

The house we have was built in 2007/08; the builder “Burton Construction” – Roseau Dominica, obtained planning approval. We have some of the structural drawing and if requested we will introduce you to the builder and the architect .

Alien Land Holding Licence:(non citizens)

If you are buying more than 3 acres for business or more than one acre for residential purposes, you will need an Alien Land Holding Licence, If the parcel you wish to buy is large, it is very unlikely that you will get a licence if you only intend to put a residence on your property. Since closing will be conditional upon you getting permission to buy, your offer must reflect this.

There is currently a house on the property so approval may not be necessary.


A deposit should not be given to the vendor. You may run into problems, for example, if there is a caveat on the title, because the seller has a mortgage from the bank, on completion there may not be enough funds to satisfy the bank. Assuming everything is in order, you can now put your offer in writing.

We suggest you contact a lawyer in Dominica; we can recommend one, if needed and work through them to confirm details. You are welcome to contact us at any time to discuss any details or concerns. We have been on the island since 1998 and have some knowledge of local conditions

Following is a guide to the Transfer Fees you will be required to pay upon purchase of land in Dominica:

Property transfer fees are 10.5% of the higher of the valuation and the purchase price of a property.
These are made up as follows: 4% Stamp Duty, 2.5% Judicial Fee, 1% Assurance Fund, 3% Legal Fees, + 10% Alien Land Holding Licence (when necessary)
Other fees are those for a surveyor to prepare plans and provide a valuation for registry purposes. These fees are on a sliding scale depending on the value of the property.

Note: there are currently up to date surveys for the property. There are no on going land taxes or service fees once you buy the property, and the sale is complete.

In Canada call (705)787-8412  E-Mail