Registering land is as important if not more than actually buying it. When you pay for the land, you aren’t legally the owner until all the necessary paperwork and legal processes have been duly executed. It may be a daunting task but it must be done to ensure that you do not get into land problems in the future as is quite common.
Often, what is most important is simply knowing the process you need to follow to get your land registered in Ghana. If not you may end up being tossed from one government office to the other. The purpose of this article is to give you a guide to registering your land. We also aim to answer some of the common questions when it comes to land title registration.
To make sure the basics are well understood, we shall first look at what exactly a land title is since that is what you will be registering for.
What is Land Title?
Registering land is a legal exercise involving several steps and government agencies. To successfully get your land title, you will need to understand certain terms. The two main ones are land title and land deed. Both terms may be thrown around interchangeably but they are legally not the same thing. Understanding is the very first step to getting your documents done well without any future repercussions.
The land title is the legal ownership of something, in this case, the land. Therefore possessing the land title means having the right to use the land and modify it as you see fit. The land title may also represent partial ownership of a property that you can legally transfer to another entity. This is slightly contrasted with a deed that only represents the actual legal documents and can also be transferred. For instance, when land is sold, the deed is prepared to show the transfer of the ownership of the land.
Ownership of Land in Ghana
Ownership of land in Ghana is generally put into two; customary lands and public lands. Customary lands are those own or held by stools, families, or clans. They are often held in trust by the family or clan heads or chiefs.
The second is public lands; these are lands held by the president of Ghana and acquired for public use. It is common for chiefs to give customary land out for public projects or donate to NGOs for their community impact projects.
Private organizations and individuals can also purchase land from customary landowners such as chiefs or family heads.
Is it Compulsory to Register Land?
In Ghana, It is legally required to register your land. However, it is also for your own benefit to register
- It gives notice to the entire world that you own that particular piece of land that you purchased.
- Registering your land makes sure that you are legally recognized that you own the property.
- Following the legal registration to the end gives you priority over others who try to register the same piece of land as their own.
How Much Does it Cost to Register Land in Ghana?
Even though there are small fees paid along the way in the various government institutions responsible for registering your land, the valuation of the property ultimately determines the final sum to be paid. This sometimes makes it difficult for citizens to register their land due to high valuations requiring high final fees.
How do You Register a Land Title in Ghana
The institutions responsible for land service delivery in Ghana are the Lands Commission, Land Valuation Board, Survey Department, Land Title Registry, Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, and the Town and Country Planning Department. The process starts with the land title registry.
1. Obtain Forms from the Land Title Registry. Fill and submit to the registry with copies of all relevant documents and the registration fees involved.
2. Receipt of “Yellow Card” from the Registry opens submission of the forms and fee. Also, receipt of a letter addressed to teg Survey Department to prepare parcel plans.
3. Pay and Collect Parcel Land plans from Survey Department. Plans are then submitted to the Land Title Registry.
4. Land Title Registry then gives you a photocopy version of the parcel plan and a form requesting a land search report from the Lands Commission.
5. The report is examined to be sure it is the same land in question and there are no contradictions. Once it is verified to be the land in question, the publication is done in the dailies to indicate the new owner of that parcel of land.
6. Objections are taken based on the publication in a 14-day window from the day of the publication. Without objections, the process proceeds.
7. The Land Title Registry then prepares, signs, and prints the land certificates and proceeds to record the details on the sectional plans. Notice is given to you upon completion of the process. Applicant submits “Yellow card” to redeem their documents
As already mentioned, registering your land is a legal mandate as well as a personal good as it helps you prevent others from registering the same piece of land as their own. However, land litigation is a complex issue and it is advisable to engage a lawyer when buying land to ensure the smoothest and legally binding purchase and registration.