The Land Settlement Agency (LSA) was established by an Act of Parliament No. 25 of 1998, and commenced formal operations in 1999. The LSA now falls under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Its mandate is to ”protect eligible squatters from being ejected off State Lands; to facilitate the acquisition of leasehold titles by both squatters and tenants in designated areas and, to provide for the establishment of land settlement areas”.
There are over 250 squatting sites on State Lands in Trinidad and Tobago with approximately 23,000 squatting households. Poverty reduction and the provision of goods and services must be addressed holistically to ensure all citizens are able to have sustainable livelihoods and a decent quality of life. In this regard, LSA’s work is viewed as an important platform towards achieving this development.
To provide security of tenure to certain squatters in accordance with the provisions of the State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Act no 25 of 1998.
To regularise certain squatters who have illegally occupied State Lands prior to January 01, 1998 and improve their living conditions as well as to prevent and contain further squatting of state lands.
To process the applications for regularisation prior to Jan 01, 1998 and to prepare statutory documents such as the CoCs, Statutory Leases and Deeds of Leases to provide security of tenure for eligible squatters.
To protect eligible squatters from ejectment off State Lands; to facilitate the acquisition of leasehold titles by both squatters and tenants in designated areas and, to provide for the establishment of land settlement areas”.
To partner with other State agencies to ensure containment of further squatting.
- To regularise squatter families under an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Programme. This programme has been ongoing since 2003;
- To provide a more streamlined programme for the execution of statutory leases and Deeds of Lease.
- To Partner with State Agencies to ensure the containment of further squatting on State Lands.
- To reduce the incidences of squatting through public education and information
Squatter Regularization involves two activities:
- Improving the conditions of persons living in squatter communities by implementing or upgrading necessary physical infrastructure such as roads, drainage and sewerage systems along with providing potable water, electricity and other amenities.
- Providing Security of Tenure to eligible Squatters who have been illegally occupying State Lands prior to January 1st 1998, and have completed and fulfilled all necessary requirements under Act No 25 of 1998.
Certificate of Comfort
Under the provisions of the State Land (Regularization of Tenure) Act No 25 of 1998, a squatter who was illegally occupying State Lands prior to January 01, 1998 could only have applied for a Certificate of Comfort (COC) in the prescribed statutory format on or before October 27, 2000. This would have been the first step in a three stage regularization process to obtain security of tenure by way of a Deed of Lease.
Please note, however, that while the COC gives a squatter a personal right to protection from ejectment from State Land, it does not convey/give a squatter any right, legal interest or title to State Land.
LSA- From A Certificate of Comfort to A Deed of Lease
Land Settlement Agency Main Office
To Report Illegal Squatting: 1-868-866-1111