Lands Department eyes new legislation

The Lands Department is working on a new strata title legislation.

Strata title allows individual ownership of part of a property, whilst sharing ownership in common property like driveways or gardens.

In a press briefing yesterday afternoon, Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko said strata titles provide a further option for home and property ownership to our people.

“Most countries now allow you to have a strata title, which means that you have a title for the apartment or the actual flat or unit that you are buying,” he explained.

“So the situation is that we are now introducing this legislation, we are now working on this legislation.”

A working committee, led by the Lands Department’s Legal and Policy Division and the Office of the Registrar of Titles, will be assisted by the State Solicitor and the First Legislative Council, to ensure the draft legislation and all subsequent amendments to existing legislation, is put forward in a timely manner.

The Minister says the committee will make sure the laws of strata title are properly done so that Papua New Guineans can own their own title to units or apartments.

“It has been long overdue,” said Tkatchenko.

“And we have a consultant and professional expert that has been given to us by the Australian High Commission. He is working with us to help us reform the Lands Department and give us advice on what we can do to improve the Lands Department.”

Additionally, acting Lands Secretary, Oswald Tolopa, said the subleasing of units will now be a thing of the past.

Subleasing happens when a tenant, whose name is on the lease, rents out a portion, or all of the property, to another.

“That is a big plus for this country,” Tolopa said.

“As the Minister said, a parcel of land and you have flats in there; all we are paying for, we are charging is the landlord or leaseholder to pay for that parcel of land. Now if you have units, now there’s going to be more revenue coming in because we are going to target those leaseholders. (It's the) Title of those units and flats that we are going to charge.”

Tolopa says this is part of the legislation that will boost revenue, adding the government is looking forward to added value from this new legislation.

(From left: Acting Lands Secretary, Oswald Tolopa with Minister Justin Tkatchenko)

Carmella Gware