Indenture, Title Registry, Title Certificate – What do they mean? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

(Article by Korsi Jeff Gbodjor)

READERS of my article on “real property” raised many questions on Indenture, Land Title Registry and Title Certificate. In this article, I shall attempt to provide answers to those questions.

Indenture is a deed. Normally, real property transaction involves the sale of real property under contract and is usually consummated by the delivery of an indenture or deed. An indenture is a written instrument used to convey an interest in real property; thus an indenture or deed conveys legal title.

Acquiring Legal Title:  Alienation is the act of transferring ownership, title or interest in real property from one person to another. The alienation may be voluntary (with the owner’s control and consent of the owner). Voluntary alienation is done by an indenture/deed and by last will and testament. Involuntary alienation is done by descent, escheat, adverse possession and eminent domain.

Descent:  When a person dies without a will, he is said to die intestate, and all the property owned by the deceased pass to the legal descendants known as heirs.

Escheat to the state:  Escheat provides for the government, normally a state government, to take property of an owner who dies intestate and without any known heirs to receive the property. With our extended family system, there is always someone to claim the deceased’s property.

Adverse possession:  When a true owner of a property “sleeps on his rights” and fails to maintain possession and property is seized by another.

Eminent domain:  The power given by the government to take land from an owner through legal process is known as condemnations, as long as the taking is for a public purpose. A fair market price must be paid for any land taken under eminent domain. This power may be excised by the government (or delegate to railroad and utility companies) regardless of whether the owner wants to part with the property, therefore it is a form of involuntary alienation.

In early English history, conveyances of freehold interests in real property did not depend on written instruments. Instead, the parties conducted their business on the land, and the townspeople assembled around them to witness the event, the seller orally announced to the townspeople that he was transferring land to the buyer.

Today, there are two types of notices:

1. Actual notice:  Refers to information a person has actually learned by reading, seeing or hearing.
2. Constructive notice:  Refers to information that has been made public, such as recording or registering the information in public records.

Recording a properly executed and “acknowledged” instrument of conveyance puts the world on notice regarding an owner’s interest in real property. This is done at the lands registry records in the region or the district the real property is located. Record of conveyance should protect both the holder of title and the public from fraud because the true ownership of real property is open to verification by the public. Whether this actually happens in our society is open to debate.

A title search is an examination of all public records in the region or district to determine whether any defects exist in the chain of title records of ownership of the property. Records of conveyances of ownership are examined beginning with the present owner. Then the title is traced backwards to its origin. Other public records are examined to identify wills, judicial proceedings, and other encumbrances that may affect title such as variety of taxes, special assessments and other recorded liens.

Although the grantor in a general warranty indenture/deed warrants that he or she is the owner of the property and that all encumbrances have been disclosed; a deed is not considered satisfactory evidence of title. It contains no proof of the kind of condition of the grantor’s title at the time of conveyance.

The grantee needs some assurance that he or she is actually acquiring ownership and that the title is good and indefeasible. Therefore, obtaining a “title certificate” issued by the proper authority after going through all the steps outlined above should be the right safeguard. The writer of this article is not an attorney. It is advised that a good real estate attorney is consulted when dealing in real property.


Credit: Daily Graphic on 17th September, 2010


New land management system to be introduced PDF  | Print |  E-mail

(Story by Michael Donkor)

A new system to streamline the use and management of land in a sustainable manner in the country is to be introduced by the government this year.

The system is aimed at addressing the chaos that has characterized land use in the country and help establish a harmonious land management regime, taking into consideration the country’s socio-economic priorities.

The Deputy Director of Town and Country Planning Department of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Mr. Lawrence Dakurah, said this yesterday at the Eighth International Building Construction, Property and Water Exhibition, currently going on in Accra.

He expressed worry that the current land use planning system was beset with a myriad of problems, describing the legal framework for land use planning      (CAP 84 of 1945) as obsolete and ineffective.

Mr. Dakurah said planning authorities were under-resourced, with only 69 out of the 140 districts of the country having professional land use and spatial planners, who are still using rudimentary equipment like rulers and set squares and applying outdated planning technologies.

He said the results of these lapses were manifested in the present confusion and lack of clarity about land use matters and the chaotic situation in physical development.

Mr Dakurah said the proposed new planning system would bring together socio-economic planning with spatial planning, which recognizes national and regional development objectives as the framework for ministries, departments and agencies (MMDAs) in the discharge of their mandate as the planning authorities.

Credit: Daily Graphic on 17th September, 2010

Is Kumasi a beautiful city?
Saturday, 14 August 2010 16:29

Story: Kwame Asare Boadu

I recently bumped into two young men arguing over whether Kumasi is a beautiful city. While one of them thought Kumasi was a beautiful city, the other disagreed and they advanced all manner of arguments to support their stand.
As I stood for a while thinking about which of the two men was right, it dawned on me that one needs to critically examine various elements before deciding whether a city is beautiful.

Knushwant Singh, a prominent Indian novelist and journalist, described a beautiful city as one in which the beauty of nature is combined with great architecture.

He explained that it should have green hills as a backdrop, an expanse of sea or a large river flowing through it. It must have a history. Its buildings, bazaars, plazas, markets, places of worship, museums, art galleries and residential quarters should blend harmoniously with their natural surroundings.

There could be other additions to Singh’s description as attempts are made to answer the question of whether Kumasi is beautiful.
Last week, I saw a Toyota pick-up vehicle belonging to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) with the inscription “Kumasi Beautification Project”
“What project is this?” I asked myself. I later came to the realization that it was the project that was started by the KMA in 2007 with the view to seeing Kumasi, once an admirable city, undergo a historic transformation to befit its status as Ghana’s Garden City.

The fortunes of the one-time Garden City have plummeted due to mismanagement and disrespect for bye-laws governing the city.
City authorities believed a beautification project was one sure way of restoring Kumasi to its former glorious days.

Even though the authorities may have had a good reason for coming out with the beautification project, many questioned its relevance as beautification was supposed to be a process rather than a project, which has a life span.

The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines the word beauty as having an appearance or qualities which please the senses or give rise to admiration in the mind.

Indeed, there had long been potentials to build the traditional city of Kumasi into a megalopolis but the political will has always not been there to fulfil this dream.

I have always had the conviction that we need to learn from others in getting the best for our cities. The Chinese, for instance, have, through shared vision, transformed their major cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, into some of the finest you can find anywhere in the world today and we can walk through the same revolutionary lines given the right approach.

More than half of the world’s population currently live in cities. Projections have it that by the next 20 years, another 10 percent are expected to become urban settlers meaning by that time, metropolises in the world would be home to some five billion people.
Consequently, many governments and city authorities are crafting policies and programmes that can turn the fortunes of their cities around and give hope for the people who live there.

So is Kumasi getting any better with its decision to undertake the beautification programme?
To answer this question, there is the need to examine some specific areas that bring beauty to a city and see if Kumasi has moved to make any meaningful impact in those areas.

The old settlements such as Adum, Ashanti New Town, Asafo and Bantama have been considered dignified and beautiful as a result of the spectacular layouts. These suburbs thus inspire in their beauty and harmony.

Conversely, the new settlements provide a great disharmony and disorder in planning. In many of these peripheral areas of the city, access roads are virtually non-existent as people build haphazardly. This does not depict a city of beauty.
A city needs to follow modern planning ideas to enable Kumasi to get what is better.

A great city requires beautiful architecture. The architecture of Kumasi is generally synonymous with simplicity and material beauty.
Kumasi may not have skyscrapers, but the simple architecture will leave nostalgic memories of many a visitor.
This is not to say all is well with the city in this respect, as a number of the buildings do not befit the status of the city. Many still live in squalid and unhealthy conditions, which do not hold anything good for the city.

This has been the most challenging aspect of the city’s beautification process. One of the environmental challenges is sanitation.
In spite of the KMA’s effort to overcome this challenge, not much has been achieved as filth continues to pile up in some parts of the metropolis.
The problem has arisen partly due to the inability of the KMA to enforce its bye-laws on sanitation.

The KMA’s bye-laws on sanitation, promulgated in 1995 under section79 of the Local Government Act 462 of 1993, cover the disposal of refuse, removal of weeds and rubbish. It also provides prohibitions against the disposal of litter, refuse or other matter in gutters and drains, and that any person who contravenes any of the bye-laws commits an offence, and shall be liable on conviction by a Court or Community Tribunal to a fine not exceeding GH¢5 which has been revised to GH¢20, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months.

Another environmental challenge is the way lunatics roam the streets. At a point, controversy arose over whether the KMA or the Department of Social Welfare was responsible for taking care of lunatics in the city.

But, it is a fact that keeping mentally handicapped persons in safe places is the responsibility of the KMA and this must be taken serious to enable Kumasi realize some beauty.

In the run up to the CAF African Cup of Nations in 2008, an attempt was made by the social services subcommittee of the Assembly to clear the city of lunatics, and in the process, about 38 mentally handicapped were arrested and admitted into the Cheshire Home at Edwenase, where they were offered medical treatment. This was however unsustainable and the situation has worsened over time.

The Kumasi Central Market is considered the biggest in West Africa, yet, it has not seen the expected development.
The current KMA Chief Executive, Mr. Samuel Sarpong, had initiated action to get the market reconstructed and expectations are that this would be carried through to befit the status of Kumasi.

Other satellite markets must also be developed in the interest of the city’s advancement.
The above and other elements such as roads and transportation development are all crucial in determining whether Kumasi is beautiful.

Credit: Daily Graphic, Friday August 5, 2010


Feature: AMA’s efforts at flood control PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 06 August 2010 17:19

According to land experts, most parts of Accra lie in a lowland area and disposition can easily be flooded with an average rainfall.  This means that the problem of flooding in the city of Accra can be compounded when structures are built on waterways coupled with choked gutters.

On this premise, several city experts have decried the haphazard way in which structures are put up in the city and warned of a massive destruction of properties and loss of lives if nothing was done about the situation.  Among the flood prone areas are Sakaman, Kamara Down, Atico Bridge, Abolo-Junction, Mataheko, Atico Junction, Kaneshie Lorry  Station Areas, Portions of East Legon, Zamariama Line, Banana Inn, Abelenkpe, some parts of Dcorwulu, Sukula, Russia, Bawaleshe Airport Residential and Roman Ridge.

What has always been of concern is the removal of structures on waterways and construction of storm drains to direct the flow of running water.  So what was needed to be done as city authorities? Mapping out of Strategy, backed by full commitment to ensure that the work was done to either eliminate or minimize the perennial flooding situation in the city.

Relocation of Novotel market fails to boost business PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 06 August 2010 16:41

The relocation of the Novotel foodstuff market to the Odawna Pedestrian Shopping Mall at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle has failed to boost trading activities in the four-year-old shopping mall as expected.
Many traders in the rather ‘ghost’ market expected business activities to improve significantly once the relocation exercise was completed.

More than three months after the relocation, about 3,000 stalls, located near the Sahara Park have remained empty, a situation which the traders described as very disappointing.

Ironically, these traders spent a lot of money to secure the stalls after they were allocated by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) at a cost of GH¢250 following the completion of the mall in 2006.

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