Land Ownership in Accra

Most land in Accra is not owned by private entities, or even by the national government. Instead, it is usually owned by traditional community leaders and chiefs, or stools. Allodial ownership, meaning sovereign autonomy over a land, is generally held by these traditional entities. This article will explain the various forms of land ownership and the complications that may arise should you choose to acquire land.

Types of Land Ownership

Land in Accra is held by various stool/skin leaders, families, or clans, who are the allodial owners thereof. These lands are known as customary lands and, according to Appiah (2011), make up about 80% of all land in Ghana.

Public lands, which roughly form the remaining 20%, are comprised of state lands and vested lands.
State lands refer to those acquired by the Government of Ghana from traditional allodial owners.
Vested lands refer to those owned by the state and customary authorities in a form of partnership, i.e. split ownership (Larbi, 2008).
Types of Land Interests and Titles

Land can be distributed and leased with various titles:

Allodial Title:

The allodial title is the highest legally recognized land title. Only traditional leaders, families, and the Ghanaian government can hold such a title.

Freehold Title Interest:

Customary Freehold: Effectively, this agreement only allows members of the traditional community to participate in land acquisition. Individuals or groups can hold this interest in a land that is allodially owned by a larger traditional community of which the interest holders are members or subjects. It is an interest that is transferable to successors of the individual or subgroups until there are no successors.
Common Law Freehold Common law freehold is similar to the customary freehold. The difference, however, is that this interest can be acquired by both strangers and members of the community that owns the land. A stranger in this regard refers to a Ghanaian national who is not a member of the land-owning community. It is important to note that the 1992 Constitution by article 267 (5) forbids the creation of freehold interests in stool land in Ghana.
Leasehold:

A leasehold/lease is an interest in land that has a specified start and end for a period, subject to payment of annual ground rents and covenants. This land interest is the type of agreement that allows non-Ghanaians to develop new property in the country. Leasehold agreements should contain:

Names of the interested parties
The starting date and duration of the agreement
The specific property being leased (usually depicted by the site plan)
Conditions for renewal or nonrenewal and other covenants
A specific consideration (a lump sum, or periodic payments, such as groundrent) for granting the use of this object
Acquiring Land as a Foreigner

It is impossible for foreign nationals to obtain full allodial ownership of lands in Ghana. Nonetheless, foreign developers, investors, and builders can still construct property on land leased from government or stool communities. The typical lease agreement in Accra lasts 99 years or more, but lasts a maximum of 50 years for foreigners. While the structure of land ownership in the country and macroeconomic realities might appear to deter foreign purchase of property, the national government does its part to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in real estate, where there exists a housing deficit of roughly 1.7 million units.

When acquiring land, always consult a legal expert for advice on what type of agreement to make. Negotiate components of the lease agreement and investigate the land’s ownership history. Additionally, take precautions to ensure the legitimacy of the lessor. In order to obtain a title registry for the land, go to the Lands Commission and be sure to commence development or construction within the timeframe specified in the agreement. Once the lease contract is signed, it is final and legally binding, so ensure that all requirements have been met.

References

Appiah, Michael. Land Disputes Resolution in Ghana: The Role of Customary Land Secretariats (CLS).” Case of Gbawe Customary Land Secretariat, 2011.

Larbi, Wordsworth O. Compulsory Land Acquisition and Compensation in Ghana: Searching for Alternative Policies and Strategies. Presented at FIG/FAO/CNG International Seminar on State and Public Sector Land Management. Verona, Italy, September 2008.

Lodoh, C.H.K and da Rocha, B.J. Ghana Land Law and Conveyancing, 2nd Edition, 1999.a

Source : house.jumia.com.gh