I would have thought that the artist’s renditions on the early promotional material would have been preferable to the barren scenes depicted by these photographs. I have just been looking at the latest promotional material produced by Viceroy. The above is the conclusion I came to as a result. The architect’s elevations and drawings in circulation some years ago were quite attractive. By comparison, the real thing as depicted by these latest photographs is about as close a resemblance to
View of the Specialty Restaurant from the water
What seems to be their spanking new website can be seen at Viceroy Anguilla.
Their ownership opportunities page gives you lots of pictures of sea fans and exotic marine life.
But, I can’t find out what I get for my million dollars if I purchase a residence there. Will I be acquiring the
Purchasers, I am told by one who has been in communication with me, are not encouraged to retain their own local lawyer to advise them on what exactly it is they are acquiring. Purchasers are under the impression that they can use the professional services provided by the seller! Can it be that even today there are buyers who are so naïve? I am certain they would not be so innocent in their own home country if they were acquiring a multi-million dollar home. They would have the best lawyer around advising them on their investment.
Some real estate speculators and developers in various parts of the world are selling ownership of imaginary real estate under the name of ‘club residences’ and the like. In
It can’t be that Viceroy would be selling ‘timeshare’ as real estate in
A pretend interest in land can also take the form of an equity interest in a company that holds the title to the real property. In such a scenario, a company owns the title to the real estate, and the individual purchasers actually acquire no more than shares in the company. But, again, this is not an interest in real estate. It is only an interest in personal property, shares in a company. If, for any reason, the company should go under, the shareholders are left with worthless equity. Well-advised investors will only purchase real estate in a country where the law recognizes and protects interests in real property.
On Sunday I sent an email inquiry to Viceroy's Phillip Day, inquiring what real estate interest does the purchaser of an apartment, or residence as they call it, acquire. He replied:
In response to your e-mail, Viceroy Anguilla does not sell "apartments." Viceroy Anguilla is selling one, two and three bedroom condominium residences along with four and five bedroom free-standing villas. As I mentioned before, Viceroy Anguilla does not sell "time-shares" or any other partial type of ownership commonly referred to as "fractional."
. . . At closing, each purchaser receives a title insurance policy from Stewart Title guaranteeing fee simple ownership of the residence free of any liens, encumbrances or other title exceptions, excepting, the following: (i) applicable laws, regulations and ordinances; (ii) the condominium documents that establish and govern Viceroy's condominium homeowners association; (iii) easements, rights-of-way, covenants, restrictions and other encumbrances that affect the condominiums; (iv) all easements, rights-of-way and notes shown on the recorded development plan; (v) easements, claims of easements, not shown by public record (vi) discrepancies or conflicts in boundaries, easements, encroachments, rights-of-way, encroachments or area content that a satisfactory current land title survey would disclose; (vi) possible additional tax assessment by reason of new construction of improvements, not yet due and payable; and (viii) the statutory rights and easements granted to the Seller as Declaring under the condominium documents by the Government of Anguilla, British West Indies.
Every Viceroy Anguilla purchaser is provided with copies of all condominium documents for their examination and approval many months prior to closing. All Viceroy Anguilla purchasers are advised verbally and in writing to consult their own attorney about the purchase.
The Stuart Title referred to is a US title insurance company that usually guarantees title to deeded property held by fee simple ownership. It is useful to have title insurance in the case of deeded property. There is no deeded realty in Anguilla. A person purchasing real estate in Anguilla will expect to get 'absolute title', which is a land title already guaranteed by law.
All real property in Anguilla is registered title under the Registered Land Act. A guarantee by a private company of my absolute title to my property is about as meaningfull as my guaranteeing to you that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. The laws of the planets and the stars already guarantee that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Registered title means that the Act imposes an obligation on the government of Anguilla to guarantee title. Title once registered is guaranteed by law. No private company can give a better or stronger title guarantee that the Act and the Constitution of Anguilla.
Given that there is no fee simple title to land in Anguilla [it was abolished by law in 1974], I have difficulty understanding how Stuart Title will guarantee that that is just what a purchaser will receive. This must be a mistaken understanding by Mr Day about the law of Anguilla. I have previously pointed this out to him, but he does not seem to understand the point.
Do make sure to get your own lawyer to advise you on any purchase of a 'residence'. I am certainly no expert, never having seen any of the contractual or title documents.