In the previous article, we discussed issues of rights, interests, claims, privileges and responsibilities of the various stakeholders in Land management in Busoga. It should be noted that in order to be enforceable, these rights must be registered and documented. Land registration can be defined as the means through which rights, interests, claims and privileges are considered and protected through formal documentation.
Simply put, land registration is a system whereby matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land are formally recorded (usually with a government agency or Department) in order to provide documentary evidence of title, facilitate transactions, and prevent unlawful possession. Land registration usually answers two questions: Who owns the land? How much of it does he/she own? The main product of formal land registration is a deed or title. There are various benefits that one can accrue from having his /her rights, interests, claims, privileges being registered.
Security/safeguard against fraud: Unregistered land exposes you to a higher risk of fraud. Fraudsters can assume your identity and attempt to sell or mortgage your property without your knowledge. Countless stories abound of buyers losing their hard-earned money to conmen. it has been reported of land owners being losing their property through fraudulent practices like land grabbing. Cases have been reported where criminals have registered other people’s land. Having your land registered acts as a safeguard against such schemes. It is a known fact that Registration helps you to protect your property from fraud and resist any third-party interference in form of squatters and others criminal minded people.
Evidence of ownership – When you register your land, it makes it easier to buy and sell property as all the title information necessary for land transactions will be in the Land Register, which is available for interested parties to consult. The Land Registry usually contains all the relevant information that the interested parties need. In Uganda, A registered proprietor of a title takes precedence in all ownership related issues. He/ she is the first to be consulted as regards the ownership of the subject property. A Registered Title gives a quick up-to-date official record of who owns the land.
Clarity: Registration makes it easier for interested parties to ascertain who owns the property and what benefits and burdens are attached to the land. Under the registry, the questions to the following questions are answered; (a)the name of the current owner, (b) the location and description of the property, (c) restrictive covenants that restrict how owners can use the land, (d) easements (for example a right of way) that affects the property, (e) outstanding mortgages, charges or (f) caveats or warnings that affect the property
State Guarantee: The legal framework empowers the state through ministry of land, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) to issue certificate of Title. A Registered Title is state guaranteed. If you have suffered a loss of an estate of interest in land because of a mistake or omission in the register by the Registrar you may be able to get compensation. The legal framework provides for remedies in case of an error made by the registry. There are many instances where courts of law have directed the government to compensate people who have suffered through mistakes made by the land offices through the country. There is protection and credibility accorded to registered land in land transactions.
Certainty: In addition to the registered title to the property, the Land Registry provide a deed plan which provides evidence of the extent of the property. This makes it easier for a buyer to identify the boundaries of their property and check that their understanding of the extent of the property is the same as shown on the title. Before a land transaction is done, a prospective buyer can hire a professional land surveyor to open boundaries of the subject property to ascertain it extents. Dealings concerning registered land can take place with confidence for example; buyers and lending institutions always accept the Certificate of Title and due diligence can be done through making an official search of the register and requesting a Search which is used to verify ownership claims. The search is usually backed by the Ministry of lands.
Collateral security: Registered land usually fetches high valuation rates because of the benefits associated with registration stated above. All financial institutions or individual will usually want any loan secured by a Registered Title. Usually, its authenticity is easy to prove. In case of loan default, a registered property is usually easier to foreclose than the unregistered one.
Market value: Registered land usually fetches a higher market value than unregistered land. This is due to the advantages listed above. It has also been noted that during compensation by government, registered land usually is accorded higher values than unregistered land of the same size and location. The above are some of the numerous benefits of having your land registered. If you haven’t yet registered your land, it is a high time you gave it serious thought and action.