Land Registration in Ghana: 7 Steps To Take
Land is a valuable asset to own as its value increases over time. It is then important to make sure that…
If you ‘buy’ bare land and have now built your house; does it mean that the house, together with the land, will go to the allodial land owner upon expiration of the lease? The answer is – yes.
There is a legal principle in Latin: “Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit” – meaning: “Whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil”. The legal principle means that something that is or becomes affixed to the land becomes part of the land. Therefore, the title to the fixture is a part of and passes with title to the land. Consequently, whoever owns that piece of land will also own anything attached to it.
A lease is an interest in land, which is created to last for a fixed period. This means that every lease has a specific date on which it commences and a date on which it must expire. In Ghana, a lease may be as short as one year or as long as agreed between the parties involved. The most common practice is a 99-year lease. It would be incorrect to assume that there cannot be a lease of more than 99 years in Ghana. An example of a lease longer than 99 years is Tema Development Corporation’s 125 years interest in Tema lands, which commenced in the year 1956. The 1992 Constitution, in Article 266, limits the maximum interest a non- Ghanaian can have on land, up to 50 years.
The person who creates a lease is known as the Lessor and the person to whom the lease is granted is known as the Lessee. A lease creates a landlord and tenant relationship between the lessor and lessee. There are certain features that characterize a lease. It must, firstly, be for a definite period, i.e. the start and end dates must never be in doubt. This implies that the lessor is entitled to repossess the leased property (and whatever is built on it if the property is land) when the lease comes to an end.
A lease must also give exclusive possession of the subject land to the lessee. In summary, a lease must include:
Guest blogger, Kwame Ankapong, of the Lands Commission in Ghana, shares his expertise on land ownership in Ghana.