Sat, 06 Jan 2024 Feature Article

A family land cannot become subject to leasehold

A family land cannot become subject to leasehold
06 JAN 2024 LISTEN

Updating on my most recent publication on a family’s farmland issue regarding its surveying and subsequential culmination in loss of their “freehold” or “usufruct” titleship to the land, I have the underlying to say.

This publication is following from a more knowledgeable opinion sought. A lawyer worth his salt, honest, fair, and firm, passed on the needed information to me after reading the said publication.

A family land surveyed for cadastral purpose and to prevent any encroachments from whomever, should not become subject to leasehold for that matter. The title of ownership should remain same as it was when unsurveyed.

The family’s interest in the land remains USUFRUCT, whether the land is officially surveyed at their request, or remains unsurveyed.

“According to Da Rocha and Lodoh, usufructuary or the customary freehold “is an interest or title in land which a member of the community, which hold the allodial title to the land, acquires in a vacant virgin communal land by exercising his inherent right to develop such vacant virgin communal land by either farming it or building on it”.

Further search to buttress the contention by the above two cited learners is found below.

“Usufruct (/ˈjuːzjuːfrʌkt/)[1] is a limited real right (or in rem right) found in civil-law and mixed jurisdictions that unites the two property interests of usus and fructus:

Usus (use, as in usage of or access to) is the right to use or enjoy a thing possessed, directly and without altering it.

Fructus (fruit, as in the fruits of production) is the right to derive profit from a thing possessed: for instance, by selling crops, leasing immovables or annexed movables, taxing for entry, and so on.

An usufruct is either granted in severalty or held in common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed. The third civilian property interest is abusus (literally abuse), the right to alienate the thing possessed, either by consuming or destroying it (e.g., for profit), or by transferring it to someone else (e.g., sale, exchange, gift). Someone enjoying all three rights has full ownership”.

Usufruct - Wikipedia

The said unnamed lawyer, hereby the more knowledgeable opinion, went further to explain to me that it is only foreigners that a land or farmland can be leased to for fifty years. To a subject of a traditional area or a Ghanaian, the leasehold of a land is ninety-nine years but not fifty.

Again, a family land in this instance should never become subject of lease, let alone, limiting their right of ownership to fifty years lease by the fact of the family seeking to officially delineate their land.

Any family land can be taken over when it is needed for national development or any type of development of collective interests to the locals or the country. It can also be taken when the town has grown to encompass it. In whichever case, the family does not totally lose out. Compensation is given to them, or a portion of the land is still allocated to them, especially when the land has been demarcated into building plots.

Over to you, the family in question.
This publication may serve the interest of other people who may be in a similar situation but unaware of the prevailing relevant law(s) to the contrary.

Thank you to that knowledgeable opinion, a helper or saviour of the family.