People have land and others have plans to own land. Owning real estate or land carries a bundle of legal rights transferred with the property from seller to buyer.

Ownership of land is holding a “title” to it. The evidence of that title is the deed. The seller executes a deed to transfer title to the new property owner and the bundle of rights that go with it.

Muhammad Kizito, a real estate manager, explains the recognised rights of the holder of the title to the property.

The right of ownership
He says the property is owned by whoever holds the title. Once you close a land deal for cash and have the title in your hands, it’s yours. “Owning land comes along with other things such as the caveat and if you are not paying property taxes and many association dues, your property can be taken away from you,” Kizito says.

He adds that depending on the country in which you live and the laws there, the lien holder of a mortgage can quickly exercise the right to take the property, if not, they can seek for legal advice from courts of law.

The right of control
Kizito explains that, within the law, the owner controls the use of the property. But you must follow the homeowner association bonds and restrictions you agreed on while buying.

So, if you want to control your property and having various activities, you have to consider the agreement you made while buying, including the neighbours.

The right of rejection
Kizito says once you get the title, it means you are the owner and do not have to allow anyone to enter your property who is not law enforcement with a warrant.

“There will be easements for things such as utilities. Utility companies will have the right to enter the property to maintain their rights of way and utility lines as a part of the easement,” Kizito says.

He added that, a land owner can enjoy the use of the property in any legal manner. Having different activities on your land if allowed, if it’s not restricted through subdivision or homeowner covenants or restrictions documents,” Kizito says.

The right of disposition
Kizito says the title holder can sell, rent or transfer ownership or use of the property at will unless you have a mortgage and that must be paid off to dispose of the property.

“If your property has a tax lien, then you will have to pay that off as a part of the settlement money. This applies as well to mechanics’ liens for work done on the property or improvements,” Kizito says.

Johnson Tumwekwase, a surveyor, says owning land without following the right procedure is illegal and you can be accused of. He further says one can get a title insurance, explaining that a title insurance is how we protect those rights against claims. When a property changes hands and a title insurance is purchased by or for the new owner, they are supposedly protected against wrong claims on their ownership rights.

“A new buyer neighbour’s survey may show that 10 feet of one side of your property is supposedly theirs,” Tumwekwase says.
The title insurance company, if you have survey coverage, would investigate and either refute their claim or compensate you for the loss of the 10 feet.

Types of Real Estate Ownership in Uganda.

Customary Land
Under this tenure, land real estate is communally owned by a particular group of people in a particular area. Its utilization is usually controlled by elders, clan heads or a group in its own well-defined administrative structures.
In the Uganda Real Estate industry, this land tenure is usually in the North, Eastern, North east, North West and some parts of Western Uganda.
Freehold Land
It is a system of owning land in perpetuity and was set up by an agreement between the Kingdoms and the British Government. Grants of land in freehold were made by the Crown and later by the Uganda Land Commission.
The grantee of land in freehold was and is entitled to a certificate of title. Most of this land was issued to church missionaries and academic Institutions and a few individuals.
Mailo Land
Land held under mailo tenure system is mainly in Buganda (Central region) and some parts of Western Uganda. The system confers freehold granted by the colonial government in exchange for political co-operation under the 1900 Buganda Agreement.

snakirigya@ug.nationmedia.com