• Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

How to Protect your Land and Property from Encroachers and Grabbers

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Acquiring land in this day and age requires hard work and sound decision-making. Once you own a piece of land, no matter how small, it is critical to protect it from trespass, encroachment, and fraud.

A landowner’s worst dread is encroachers and land grabbers. They interfere with boundaries, taking over centimetre by centimetre until they have all your hard-earned acres.

The pain of losing what you already possessed is the reason you should be aware of the following tips on how to protect your your idle land from encroachers.

Visit your Land Regularly

At least once a month, visit your property, which will protect it from encroachers. With this, you can identify any potential encroachment.

More often, encroachers take advantage of the owner’s prolonged absence to make use of it.

Even better; ensure you’re making use of the land some way.

Doing something on the land, even through proxies, ensures you get constant feedback.

Consult the Land Office

To track the status of your property, cross-check it in the land registry regularly. You may own property on the ground but may have lost it at the land office.

After a sufficient time has passed, request a search report on your property to check that you are still the legal owner.

Lodge a Caveat

A caveat protects your property from being sold and transferred to another owner without your permission.

Survey your Land

When purchasing land, have it measured by a professional surveyor registered with the Surveyor’s Registration Board, since they will be held accountable to that licensing authority for installing precise mark stones.

Sometimes, neighbours can alter such marker stones to recover a section of your property.

Land surveys aid in preventing encroachment beyond the legal boundary.

Fence off

Mark your property boundaries by fencing your property’s perimeter. A fence, no matter how big or short, is nonetheless noteworthy.

Shorter poles connected with barbed wire, a concrete wall, iron sheets, vegetation fencing, or, in rare situations, a border trench, demonstrates ownership boundaries.

Secure your Property

If you stay away from the property, hire a security guard to watch it to avoid illegal transactions.

Maintain good relations with your neighbours. Ask that they keep an eye out notify you of any suspicious activity.

Put it in Writing

If you give anyone access to your property for any activity, such as farming, brick making, cattle or sand mining, ensure that the arrangement is documented.

Otherwise, after using the land for a while, the people you assisted may claim claim ownership rights if you need to sell or use your land tomorrow.

Depending on the type of land title, such as Mailo titles, residents (bibanja holders) may have legal rights to the land and are entitled to compensation if forced to leave.

Therefore when choosing a caretaker to use the land, ensure there is a separate legal agreement outlining the arrangement in writing.

Place a family land in the name of one of your children or another individual, and notify other family members.

It is beneficial in the event of your death or when the delegated ownership powers are abused for selfish motives.

Due to the lack of an agreement between the donor and the recipient, many land disputes and forgeries have occurred, leaving family members disputing with other claiming parties.

Use Property Management Services

Property management companies look after both buildings and vacant lots.

A manager will ensure that the property and its borders are well maintained.

Property managers will collect rent, pay utilities, handle repairs, and oversee a rented home on your behalf.

This manager works in your best interests, as the owner.

Have a good agreement specifying tasks concerning the property.

Pay Your Taxes

If someone is trying to grab your property, proof that you have been paying taxes as the owner of the property can go a long way as evidence that you are in fact the true owner of that property.

Therefore, it is important that you pay your ground rent (if applicable) and/or property rate obligations to the local government.

Likewise if you are a landlord, paying income tax on the income earned form that property can provide the evidence you need to defend yourself from grabbers trying to steal it from you. 

Use a Lawyer

Lawyers are helpful, especially throughout the land purchasing process.

However, empowering your lawyer with your land to the point of holding every document about it may be problematic.

Many times, giving up control of your land documents may allow your lawyer to make a smooth transition to absolute ownership of the land.

Keep the documentation yourself; you only need a lawyer when buying and selling land. In the event of an unexpected death, there could be a huge turn of events.

Inform the Family

Don’t be so clandestine; buy land and let your family know about it.

At the very least, your spouse, children, close relatives, or acquaintances should be informed that you have bought the property.

Fraudsters take advantage of the deceased’s properties that were unknown to close associates.

Such vulnerabilities may allow someone to fabricate a title to it and claim ownership.

In short, make those who matter in your life aware of such properties to protect yourself from post-death property infringement.

Involve LC Leaders

Local council officials can verify property ownership when it is up for sale.

Therefore it is important to consult them when you are purchasing your property to ensure you are not buying air.

Once the transaction is complete, make sure they know you are the current owner.

In some situations, LC leaders serve as witnesses in real estate transactions.

In case of forgery where there is an illegal sale of property, such transactions may be prohibited at the LC level because these leaders already know the property owner.

Not For Sale or Trespass Signs

Put Not-for-sale or No-trespassing signs on your property to deter uninformed purchasers.

Block Footpaths

Allowing people to establish a modest trail through your land may lead to the development of a larger public road in the future, especially if automobiles begin to use it.

By the time you block this pathway, it may be too late since you will face opposition from the users, and this section of land can be lost.


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