Saint Kitts’ New Escrow Law to Prevent CBI Real Estate Tricks

Speaking to a gathering of CBI-stakeholders in Dubai last week, Les Khan of the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIU, indicated that a new escrow law will prevent developers from selling units in CBI-projects that remain undeveloped by making payouts from the escrow account contingent on the fulfillment of construction milestones.

“It will ensure that any client purchasing a real estate option, the purchasing sale agreement must always be at the face amount of the investment – that being either the $200,000 or $400,000. An escrow agreement must be in place for the same amount. In the new legislation, all real estate transactions will have to go into escrow and then released from escrow upon certification of the various stages of completion of the project. So basically, the escrow agreements will have payout stages,” Mr. Khan explained, according to the SKNIS.

The Saint Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme has this year seen allegations of fraudulent practices relating to its real estate investment option; agents and developers stand accused of tampering with approval letters after having changed applications from contribution to real estate without the knowledge or consent of the applicant. Furthermore, of the almost 100 approved developments in Saint Kitts & Nevis, only a minority have been completed.

The new escrow bill’s structure seeks to “ensure that applications placed for real estate would be used for construction,” said Khan. “This is different to what was done in the past because the regulations weren’t strong enough to ensure that payouts from escrow were based on construction levels.”

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Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider. He welcomes readers to connect on Linkedin.