HOW TO AVOID LAND LITIGATION ISSUES

Land purchase is a beneficial long –term investment to make. You are excited as a land buyer with great plans for your land. Suddenly, you are served with a court summons over ownership. How do you wake up from such a nightmare that the investment you made with lots of money is faced with litigation issues? Land disputes and litigations have become rampant, causing lots of problems within and among relatives, friends, communities and ethnic groups in Africa. The problems may be due to a number of reasons such as greed, ethnic conflict, misunderstanding between land buyers and land owners, chieftaincy problems, lack of customary lands secretariats for traditional councils, improper documentation and lack of adequate education. It is obvious no one would like to fall into such a trap and lose sums of money. How can you avoid land litigation issues? Let us consider these measures that follows;
UNDERSTAND GHANA’S LAND LAWS
There is the need for everyone who wants to purchase a piece of land to understand the laws surrounding land acquisition and purchase, especially the law on who owns land in Ghana, so as to avoid potential land litigation and its associated problems. It may interest you to know that no one individual owns land in Ghana here. All lands belong to the state, traditional authorities and families. Land owned by individuals and private entities are simply leaseholds lasting 50 years for expatriate and 99 years for citizens .
KNOW THE LAND OWNERSHIP AND INTERESTS IN GHANA
The 1992 constitution in Ghana identifies 2 types of interests in land ownership. First is the freehold land interest which has to do with those lands that are owned outright by landowners for an unlimited period, with land owners having the freedom to dispose of the property at will. The other is the leasehold interest which has to do with a temporary right to occupy a land or property for a specified period of time.
DUE DELIGENCE
Due diligence is simply a careful audit you perform on the property you intend to buy .This is to confirm that whosoever you are about to go into contract with is genuine. Thus to know that the land they claim to be selling actually exists and that they are legal owners or representatives of the land. To ensure due diligence, there is the need to conduct a search on the land, inquire from the people who live close to your interested land and seek the services of a real estate lawyer. These steps will ensure that the land you are interested in is not already owned by another person, to ascertain rightful ownership as well as to gather information on potential issues surrounding the land and to see to it that all paperwork and everything pertaining to the land documents are in order.
PAYMENTS AND TRANSFER OF RIGHTS
The best way to pay for land is via bank transfer. You should avoid direct cash payments at all costs as these can easily open you up to fraudsters who will present you with seemingly genuine receipts .Before you make payments, draft a purchase and transfer agreement endorsed by you, the seller and the witnesses from both sides. You must also register your interest with the land commission once the land rights are transferred to you. Finally, it is very important that you show some form of possession to avoid encroaches and to announce that there is a new owner. Also visit the land site regularly.
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