August 20, 2021
Buying or Owning Land and Registering it in Ghana is now a dream for most Ghanaians and foreigners. Ghanaians who are looking at building a home with their loved ones or family see it as a way of minimizing cost. Foreign investors looking at doing business in Ghana for the long term also see it as an opportunity to cut on the cost of renting and build their own factories, warehouse, and place of accommodation for their workers.
Unfortunately, most people (Ghanaians and foreigners), sometimes have little or no information on the various interest in land in Ghana and the registration processes. This article seeks to educate and throw more light on the various interests in land in Ghana, registration systems, and processes of registration.
The Land Act 2019 seeks to ensure effective Land management and administration and effective land tenure provides for six (6) main interests in Land. They are Allodia Title, Customary Law Freehold, Common Law Freehold, Usufructuary interest, Leasehold interest, and Customary Tenancy.
- Allodia Title: Is the ultimate interest inland. More often than not, it is the government, stool, or family that holds such interest. The interest can be acquired through pioneer discovery and settlement, gift, purchase, and agreement, or compulsory acquisition.
- Customary Law Freehold Is an interest in Land that is acquired when a person, as the law permits, makes an outright purchase from the stool, family, or clan that holds the allodia interest. This type of interest has an everlasting duration and is inheritable. It is not subject to any proprietary obligation from any organization unless the jurisdiction and cultural right of the stool, clan, family that holds the allodia interest.
- Common-Law Freehold: This is acquired through the application of the rule of law which is regarded as the common law of the land. This type of interest is perpetual and not subject to any proprietary obligation of any organization unless the jurisdiction and cultural right of the stool, clan, or family that holds the allodia interest
- Usufructuary Interest is acquired when the subject of the stool, clan, or family that holds an allodia interest of an unappropriated portion of the land gives an inherent right to a person
- Leasehold Interest is for a specific period. It may be acquired where the person in charge of allodia title, customary law freehold, common law freehold, usufructuary interest conveys to the other part for a specific duration with terms and conditions.
- Customary Tenancy is acquired through agreement with persons in charge of Allodia title, customary law freehold, and common law freehold. Both parties will be bound by the agreement thereof.
Registration Systems in Ghana
Ghana currently practices two types of land registration systems; Deed Registration and Title Registration.
The deed registration system has been in operation before independence and was governed by the Registration Ordinance of 1883, Land Registry of 1885, and Land Registry ACT of 1962.
The Deed registration has its shortcomings because it was descriptive in nature, did not have accurate maps hence creating multiple registration problems. The Deed registration did not also confer a title on land but only dealt with the registration of deeds that were based on evidence.
The challenges emanating from the deed registration led to the introduction of the Title Registration.
Title Registration Law of 1986 was enacted to correct and solve problems like litigation and multiple registrations. The title registration introduced a parcel/cadastral plan, accurate maps and also confer Title on the interest individuals have on land. The Title registration requires the ministry of lands to declare a particular district as a title zone for all persons with deed interest to be registered under the title registration. It is important to state that this registration was done on a pilot basis, due to that we still have areas that use the deed registration system until the Lands ministry declare such areas as registration district before all Landowners within that district will be invited by the land registrar within that district to submit their documents to be registered under Title system. Currently, lands in Accra and some parts of Kumasi can be registered under the title registration system.
Process of Title Registration
- An applicant pays 35 cedis as a processing fee at the Customer Service Access Unit (CSAU) and attaches the instrument to be registered, the instrument is sent to the land Evaluation Division and a fee is generated to be paid by the client as stamp duty for stamping of the instrument.
- An applicant after stamping of document picks a registration form, fills and attach the instrument to it for submission of registration at the customer care unit of the Lands commission
- A bill is then generated, of which the client makes payment and get a receipt of payment (yellow card) from the registry
- The Land officer at the registry receives the application and a letter is sent to the survey and mapping department for the preparation of cadastral, or parcel plan.
- The applicant pays for the cadastral plan and submits same to the Land Title Registry
- The Land Title Registry issues a photocopy of the cadastral Plan and a search request form to the applicant to search for the land registry
- Land Title Registry Upon receipt of the search report looks through and if the registry is satisfied with its findings and has no objections whatsoever, publishes the name of the applicant in the news media to notify the general public
- Counting from the day the publication was made to the fourteenth day if there are no objections whatsoever, the registrar goes ahead to plot the said parcel of land and proceed with registration.
- The registration shall be effected by a land registrar and shall proceed to enter the name of the person who has been entitled to be registered and his particulars and the particulars of the grantor if any.
- The land registrar prints and signs the certificate and calls the applicant for collection. The applicant upon submission of his receipt of payment (Yellow Card) gets his Land Title Certificate.
Process of Customary Registration
- The instrument to be submitted must have the site plan and Oath of proof attached
- Once the instrument is intact, the applicant submits the instrument to the Land Registrar and receives a receipt for registration.
- Upon receipt of the instrument by the applicant, the Land registrar files a copy for registration in the registry.
- Approval of the plan by the Survey division is made and plotting of the said parcel of land is done within thirty (30) days.
- The registrar if satisfied may proceed to register the details of the applicant: Name, registration number, date, and nature of the instrument
According to the new land Act, 2019, 111 (1) An entry in the land register shall be conclusive evidence of the title of the holder of the interest specified in the land register.