LAND REGISTRATION PROCESS
by Geoffrey Osafo-Osei (Regional Stool Lands Officer)
Land registration is the recording of rights and interests in land as evidence by an Instrument. Register-able Instruments or Deeds include conveyances, leases, sub-leases, assignments, mortgages, gifts, tenancy agreements, probate and wills, letters of administration, vesting assents, statuary declarations, power of attorney etc. in relation to land.
In the registration of a landed transaction the following key elements are sought for: (3P+S)
- Parties to the transaction
- Price (or consideration)
- Signatures of the parties and their witnesses.
In addition to the first three points above, the size of the land, the date of transaction and the location of the parcel of land would be recorded. A duplicate copy of the registered document would be kept at the office of the Deeds Registry.
TYPES OF REGISTRATION
There are two forms of land registration in Ghana. These are registration under
- The Lands Registry Act 1962, i.e. Deeds registration (at the Deeds Registry within the Lands Commission) which refers only to the Deed evidencing the transaction and does not confer title to the person. Thus there can be more than one registration over the same interest in the same parcel of land.
- Land Title Registration Law, 1986 (PNDC L 152), this law was promulgated to provide for a vehicle for the compulsory registration of title and interest to lands in Ghana, with the aim of addressing the inherent problems of the former registration.
THE BENEFITS OF LAND REGISTRATION
The inherent advantages include but not limited to:
- Registered documents are admissible in the law court
- Certainty of ownership of registered lands and establish rights and interests in land, which in the process would reduce the level of litigation over land
- Facilitate the use of land as an investment, and serve as collateral for the acquisition of more sites and the development of the existing ones
- It also bring about effective and better land use planning and development and enhances good governance in land Administration
THE PROCESSES INVOLVED
The processes are dependent on the categories of land to be registered. These are state lands, stool vested lands, stool lands, family lands and individual lands.
CATEGORIES OF LAND OWNERSHIP IN GHANA
Land ownership in Ghana is a combination of public lands and traditional lands. The following five categories are distinguished;
These are lands that are compulsorily acquired by Government through the use of compulsory purchase powers. Title is vested absolutely in the state.
These are lands that are owned by stools but which by legislative enactments are administered directly by the state. The management is vested in Government on behalf of the land owing stool. The stool is entitled to the beneficial rights rising from the management by the State.
These are lands that are exclusively owned and managed by the stool themselves. The absolute ownership is vested in the stool as a trustee for its people.
Family / Clan Lands
These are lands whose allodial interest is vested in a family or clan and who enjoy the benefit of same exclusively.
These are lands that have been acquired out rightly from a stool, a family or the state. There is no traditional incident attached to it.
(1) STATE AND STOOL VESTED LANDS
These lands are generally managed by the Lands Commission.
- Apply to Lands Commission for plot of land with 2 passport size pictures
- Payment of the stipulated fee is made after approval
- Documents are then prepared by the Secretariat of Lands Commission.
- Execution of documents by the Applicant and the Lands Commission.
- Document is due for registration.
(2) STOOL LANDS
This category of land is under the general control of the chiefs (stools).
- Applicant/ Developer negotiate with the chiefs concerned for the land and conduct a search on the land. (This ensures that the land is not registered by another party)
- Three copies of the document executed between the chiefs and the applicant to be submitted to Lands Commission, signed, and duly stamped by a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. At least two principal elders of the stool (state status) must sign as witnesses. The witnesses of the applicant (lessee)/buyer must write full names, provide addresses and sign.
- Each copy of the document must have a site plan attached, plus two extra site plans, must accompany the documents. The back of the site plan are to be endorsed by the chief (Lessor)/ seller and the applicant (Lessee)/buyer. The site plans are to be certified by the stamps of a Licensed Surveyor and the Regional Surveyor and duly dated.
- Documents thereafter ready for processing and registration.
(3) FAMILY AND PRIVATE/INDIVIDUAL LANDS
These are managed by Heads of families assisted by Principal members of the families. These are lands owned by individual and private entities.
- It is virtually the same procedure as points 1-4 as in the case of stool lands above, except that the designations of the parties change and the Lands Commission does not give consent.
- Please in order to protect your investment, always conduct a search at the Lands Commission to ascertain the ownership and type of land that you are dealing with, before effecting payment.
- Please deal with the appropriate people (government officials or the Family/Stool Heads and Principal Family/Stool Elders) and where possible obtain the necessary receipts.
- Always obtain a receipt for all payments made at the Lands Commission.
- Lessees are required to pay annual rents in respect of State and Vested Lands to the Lands Commission. Remember that rents are not paid on demand and that you could be prosecuted for non-payment of rent, thus avoid embarrassment.