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5 KEY POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING LAND IN CAMEROON

5 KEY POINTS TO LOOKOUT FOR WHEN BUYING LAND IN CAMEROON

5 KEY POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING LAND IN CAMEROON

    1. Land certificates in Cameroon

    The importance of landed property in Cameroon cannot be overstated particularly due to the fact that landed property is used for several different purposes.  it is therefore important to protect the interest that one holds over landed property. The most effective way of doing this is by obtaining a land certificate. While it is quite a rigorous process to obtain one, a land certificate demonstrates ownership of land and secures a right in the land that is far above any other interest in land.

    2. Things to consider when buying land in Cameroon

    There are certain important things to take into consideration when buying land in Cameroon. It is important to verify who the seller of the land really is and if he is the owner of the land. In doing this you may want to inquire about whether the person has a land certificate. If the seller is the administrator of the estate of a deceased person if he has obtained letters of administration to show that he is indeed the administrator and not just a member of the family. You may also want to inquire with the other members of the family. Sometimes it is safe to even have a written document consenting to the sale. This is because several members of the family may claim that they have the right to sell land but they may not be administrators and you run the risk of losing your money if you buy land from a family member who is not an administrator. Also, you may want to really take a look at the land to make sure you know the boundaries and the dimension of the land being sold to you as well as the neighbours. Also, consider inquiring from the neighbours as to real ownership or any disputes that surround the land. It is also important to be sure about the price you are paying for the land as this will be a major issue with the tax office during the registration process.

    3. What if the land does not have a land certificate?

    It is important to purchase land that has a land title already. However, most landed property in Cameroon is not registered and it is important to do a thorough inquiry before purchasing such land. It is very important to be certain about the neighbours and it will be important to ask even the quarter heads as disputes may arise as to the boundaries of the land. Immediately you buy unregistered land you should take the necessary dispositions to obtain a land certificate. This will secure your rights in the land and settle any issues as to ownership of the land.

    4. Applying for a land certificate in Cameroon?

    There are two ways to apply for land certificates over national land in Cameroon. Applications for land certificates may be made both on occupied and exploited national land or unoccupied and unexploited land.

    4.1 Occupied and exploited land

    Land Buying

    Individuals as well as a whole community in Cameroon can apply for land certificates over national land provided, they were in peaceful occupation of such land or using such land on the 5th of August 1974.  Literary speaking this means that you have to be at least 38 years or more to apply for a land certificate in Cameroon. This is because you would have acquired the land at an older age and then started occupying the land. The law prohibits applications for land certificates on national land that is unoccupied or unexploited. However, you can apply for a land certificate on the condition that you have developed or exploited the land after 1974. In this case, you will have to demonstrate that the land was occupied and exploited before 1974 prior to your development or exploitation of the land.

    4.2 Unoccupied and unexploited land

    Application for land certificates over unoccupied or unexploited land may be made by individuals or corporate bodies by applying for a temporary grant over such land. Such an application must contain the development plan which the company or person wishes to undertake on the piece of land. A temporary grant of national land lasts for 5 years only. It may be extended into a permanent grant at the expiry of a temporary grant after an evaluation of the development of the land by the land consultative board.

    5. How is land transferred from the vendor to the purchaser

    The transfer of land must be by a notarial deed. It is very common to see pre-done sales agreements at police stations which are certified. Such documents may be proven in court that a transaction of that nature took place in case there is a dispute but it is not a valid transfer of land. As such land is not considered as transferred until a notary draws up a deed to transfer such title in land. the notary is also responsible for finalizing the transfer of title by obtaining the land certificate where there is none or by a transfer of the land certificate from the vendor to the purchaser.

     

    Article by CHUO ANGABUA JUNIOR

     PRIME-TIME LAW OFFICES

    ‘’The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. We insist specialist advice be sought depending on your specific circumstance’’

     

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