Land Title issues have become a thorn in the flesh of landowners and those who even want to buy lands in the country in recent times.
This is understandably so, partly because everyone wants to own a land (s); “after all, if you’re not able to purchase a piece of land, you’re nobody.’’ Unfortunately, registering the land has its own challenges, which usually takes different dimensions.
Nonetheless, one cannot run away from the fact that a land cannot be fully acquired without the appropriate registration and documentation.
LAND TITLE REGISTRATION LAW, 1986 (PNDCL 152)
To discuss the subject adequately, it is important to look at the law on land registration in Ghana and why it was promulgated.
The purpose of the Land Title Registration Law, otherwise known as the PNDCL 152, 1986 is to provide machinery for the registration of title to land and interests in lands.
Since its promulgation, the law has been of immense help to Ghanaians as far as the registration of lands in the country is concerned.
Basically, land registration is the recording of rights and interests in land as evidenced by instruments. These instruments or deeds that could be registered include leases, subleases, conveyances, assignments, mortgages, gifts, tenancy agreements, probate and wills, letters of administration, vesting assets, and power of attorney.
The purposes of land title registration are, first of all, to give certainty and facilitate the proof of title; and secondly, to render dealings in a land safe, simple and cheap, and also to prevent frauds on purchaser and mortgages.
RIGHTS OF PROPRIETOR
Section 43 of the law, for instance, stipulates that the rights of a proprietor whether acquired on first registration or subsequent registration shall be indefeasible, provided valuable consideration is given or rights are acquired by or under an order of the court, an indefeasible title in this sense means a complete answer to all adverse claims on mere production of the land to register; a person acquiring title from a registered proprietor has, on being himself registered, a conclusion title against the whole world.
Section 23 (5) also states that a good title means one that is founded on documentary evidence. In other words, “a title which consists of or commences with (a) any enactment, (b) a grant or conveyance from the state and (c) a grant, conveyance, assignment or mortgage which is more than 30 years old,’’ and establishes that a person is entitled to deal with the land and (d) a final judgement of competent jurisdiction.
LAND TITLE CERTIFICATE
When one acquires a property, and he or she receives an indenture, it would be of great value to go a step ahead to register the interest and to obtain land title certificate as an insurance.
In a country where almost everyday people wake up to hear scuffles over lands, land title registration should be a compulsion for individual owners and real estate developers.
There is also an uncountable number of reports about land guards attacking landowners, partly due to inappropriate registration or sometimes the land may have been sold to more than one person.
The proper registration of land usually provides security to banks and other financial institutions who lend money on the security of land for housing, as well as businesses and other purposes.
Importance of land registration, it is also critical and useful that all property owners acquire land title certificates for the following benefits or advantages:
- It gives finality to the land bought; thus a purchaser can claim full ownership of the land after registration.
- It reduces litigation over lands and removes the opportunity for fraud on innocent purchasers who are normally cheated by the duplication or suppression of title deeds. It is free from extreme technicalities; it turns to do away with the repeated, imperfect and lengthy examination of the past title.
- Persons desiring to deal with a land in any way are afforded direct and up-to-date information as to ownership of its land nuisances affecting it using personal and official search.
- It gives security to banks and other financial institutions who lend money on the security of land for housing, and business purposes.
- Every registered land is separately identified by reference to registry map and plan approved by the Director of Surveys.
These benefits put every Ghanaian in a better position to register all properties in the country. It is for these reasons that I have always held that the registration of lands in the country would go a long way to reducing the sale of lands to different parties at the same time.
Indeed, it is not healthy for the nation to continue to record issues of land brawls when a law has been enacted to address these challenges. Let us rise to the registration of al properties now.
By: Dr Joseph Prince Ayiku