Land: Know your rights on the Land

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The Land is a scarce but paramount cherished natural resource. Therefore it is crucial to guard it against the impending fraudsters through getting familiar with pertinent rights. In regard to land as discussed hereafter below;

Bonafide and lawful occupants (Bibanja holders).

Lawful occupants occupy land with the consent of the registered owner whereas Bonafide occupants are those that have stayed on land for 12 or more years without the owner’s consent and without being challenged. A landlord-tenant relationship subsists between the landowner and the bibanja holders where the landowner enjoys the reversionary interest whereas the occupants enjoy the occupancy.

Where such a tenant is desirous of selling his or her occupancy. The first option to purchase ought to be accorded to the landowner and vice versa. Where the landowner wishes to sell the reversionary interest, the first option to purchase ought to be given to the tenant. If the tenant abandons the land for 3 years or more, the occupancy is deemed terminated.

Any purchaser of the land owner’s reversionary interest or the tenants’ occupancy is subject to earlier encumbrances. Therefore interests found on the land and enjoy the same rights suffers the same responsibilities. In addition, as those that had been clothed in the preceding landowner or tenant as the case may be.

Adverse possession.

As soon as a person occupies land unchallenged by the registered owner for 12 years or more, he becomes an adverse possessor. To qualify as an adverse possessor, one should openly be in actual possession of the entire piece of land to the exclusion of the true owner. If you fall into this category, you can apply for a certificate of title to vest the land in you as the new owner. Therefore it would be presumed that the owner abandoned the land.

Landowners who are desirous of guarding against adverse possessors ought to ensure that people occupying their land have express permission from them through executing binding agreements witnessed by legal personnel.

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Spousal Consent.

This is a pre-requisite where family land is the subject of the transaction. Family land comprises of the ordinary residence of the family and the land on which the family derives its sustenance. In the absence of consent from one of the spouses, transactions on family land are mere nullities. 

How to protect your interest.

If anyone is tampering with your interest in land, lodge a caveat forbidding any dealings in the land. Except after you have a contract or the caveat has been removed.

Engage qualified lawyers to do due diligence before setting out in any land transaction. And execute agreements pertaining to any dealings in land with advocates a witness. 

When you lose your duplicate certificate of title, contact lawyers to guide you in processing a special certificate of title. Therefore this will automatically cancel the lost certificate thereby rendering it ineffective for any fraudster to use it.

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