New government regulations ban agents and brokers from conducting land transactions.
In a move to curb land transactions fraud that has witnessed a drastic increase in Uganda of recent, the government has banned all property brokers, middlemen and agents that have been the go-between land owners and prospective buyers in land transactions.
The government released guidelines that got rid of property brokers as part of the land acquisition chain. These guidelines were brought into effect on the 2nd.July.2018 and they emphasized the directive where “All instruments of subdivisions, transfers, leases and mortgages deposited for registration at all Ministry Lands Zonal offices shall be submitted by the registered owner in person and not by a broker or agent.
This directive comes as a result of rampant land fraud that has witnesses several unsuspecting individuals defrauded of their land by crafty brokers and agents. It was noticed that several agents were transacting land deals on behalf of unregistered or unknown proprietors. This left several aspects about the original proprietor of a piece of land unknown thus providing opportunity for fraud due to anonymity that complicated the land transaction process.
Several stakeholders however objected these new guidelines, sighting the possibility of these guidelines driving them out of business. Their concerns were aired at a meeting organized between the Ministry of Lands and the Uganda bankers Association, the Surveyors Institution and the Association of Real Estate Agents in Uganda (AREA-U).
The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Lands Mr. Dennis Obbo however mentioned that currently land transactions were being driven by unclear circumstances that allowed unscrupulous brokers and agents the opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting land owners, as witnessed by actions like the selling of land with duplicate certificates by some brokers.
The remedy to such fraudulent land transactions would therefore be achieved through the abolition of all land agents and brokers, enforcing the compulsory prerequisite of producing a copy of the bank statement of the land acquired; the compulsory presentation of a practicing certificate for lawyers and an appointment letter from the registered land owner before any land transaction can be conducted. The presence of the land owner at such transactions and not a broker was also made a firm requirement through the new guidelines, this however was also deemed an impractical measure due to the complexity of factors surrounding some land owners and the feasibility of every land owner to be present while a land transaction was taking place.