Property Ownership


Typical Concerns:
 
  • What are the types of land ownership in Ghana?
  • What are the land systems?
  • What types of title are available?
  • How do foreigners acquire land in Ghana?
  • Can the land purchaser be certain the title is clear?
  • What is role of the real estate agent in Ghana?
  • Why is it critical to use a qualified property attorney on land purchases?
  • What resources are available to assist me in land purchases?
 
Solutions:
 
  • Land Ownership Forms
 
The dominant form of land ownership is customary land, which represents all the different categories of rights and interests held within traditional systems (stools, skins, clans, and families). About 80% of the land belongs to traditional owners. The other lands are public lands and private lands acquired out of the traditional land holdings.
 
  • Land Systems

Two types of systems operate in Ghana: Deed Registration and Title Registration

  • Deed Registration

-The authoritative recording of instruments/transactions affecting land which provides prima facie evidence of rights and interests in the particular piece of land
-Operates in nine regions of the country
-Through the Ghana Land Administration Project (LAP), a land registry has been established in eight regional capitals
-Operates in the Greater Accra Region and Kumasi (Awutu-Senya has just been declared a title registration district to pilot systematic rural titling under MiDA Project)

  • Title Registration

-The authoritative adjudication and recording of the title to a piece of land
-Registration is by reference to the land itself and not the instruments affecting the land
-Title is state guaranteed
-Operates in the Greater Accra Region and Kumasi (Awutu-Senya has just been declared a title registration district to pilot systematic rural titling under MiDA Project)

Even though the Law provides for a systematic approach to registration in practice it is sporadic- we therefore recommend the use of a competent real estate attorney on all land transfers. 

  • Foreigners Acquiring Land
 
There are no hard and fast rules and it is essentially no different from how any Ghanaian buys property in Ghana. It is crucial, though, that one seeks the services of a lawyer for this transaction in order for a proper due diligence as to title is conducted on his behalf. Foreigners are restricted in certain types of interest they can hold. A foreigner cannot hold a freehold interest in land or a lease exceeding 50 years. If a person who is not a Ghanaian buys a freehold interest in land it would be converted to a 50 year lease.
 
  • Can I Be Certain of Clear Title?
 
Yes, but this requires a thorough search by the purchaser, which is why it is important to obtain a good lawyer to assist.
 
  • What is the Role of the Real Estate Agent?
 
Real estate agents in Ghana find land or houses for prospective buyers and charge a fee for the services. Real estate agents in Ghana do not conduct due diligence to assure good title.
 
  • Why use a Qualified Property Attorney?
 
Ghana land tenure, even though settled, is fraught with problems. Land boundaries are not properly demarcated. Consequently, one could have instances where two or more stools may be claiming one parcel of land. If a purchaser does not get a qualified lawyer to do the proper due diligence, there is the possibility of buying a piece of disputed land from one feuding party only to have the other show up and claim the same land, thus landing you squarely in the middle of the dispute.
 
  • Land Purchase Resources
 
Those who commonly assist in the land acquisition process include: real estate attorneys, real estate agents, real estate developers, Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, Ghana Investment and Promotion Centre, and the Chambers of Commerce.
 
Helpful Resources:
 

 

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