Land Ownership in Ghana: Leases (Part 2)

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:

  • Names of the parties of the agreement
  • The starting date and duration of the agreement
  • The specific property being leased (usually depicted by the site plan)
  • Conditions for renewal or non-renewal and other covenants
  • A specific consideration (a lump sum, or periodic payments, such as ground 
rent) for granting the use of this object.

Guest blogger, Kwame Ankapong, of the Lands Commission in Ghana, shares his expertise on land ownership in Ghana.

 

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Comments

  • Common Mistakes Made During House Planning in Ghana – meqasa blog
    17 December, 2018 09:37

    […] have made money and bought a piece of land. It is time to develop the land into a beautiful house. It has always been your dream and now you are more than excited about it. What are the necessary […]

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