How is LAA making a difference compared to LSPP?
- The LAA is a parastatal, similar to the LRA (Lesotho Revenue Authority). LAA has appointed an independent Board of Directors, a Director General and five Directors for the internal divisions of the LAA.
- LAA Directors are setting new standards and procedures of operation to reduce the steps to apply for a lease and LAA aim to be able to respond in a professional and timely manner to all customer demands. Customer service standards will be set and publicized.
- A new computerized lease management system will enable a paperless process. The lease process will be automatically tracked at every step of the way and a lease will be issued within 3 months.
Am I allowed to exclude my spouse’s name from the lease document if I wish to?
No. A lease can be issued in the name of both married persons (husband and wife). In case of death of either spouse, the surviving spouse retains full rights to the land. The Land Act 2010 insists that a title issued in the name of either spouse, regardless of the date it was acquired, the land rights pertaining to that plot shall be recognised in the name of both spouses. This means that even if you fraudulently exclude your spouse they are protected by law as having equal rights to the land.
You can only exclude your spouse from the lease if the lease does not form part of the community of property, as part of your civil marriage commitment.
Where can I go to get a survey done?
You should contact a private surveyor who is registered with the Chief Surveyor to conduct your cadastral (boundary) survey. Surveys by the Private Sector are regularly checked by the Chief Surveyor for quality control.
You can contact LAA for a list of registered surveyors, which is also available on the LAA website (www.laa.org.ls).
LAA will also conduct necessary surveys on behalf of the physical planning needs of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship. LAA will provide oversight and quality control on all surveys and survey standards in Lesotho.
Where can I get the necessary forms to apply for a lease or any other transaction?
You can collect any form needed for transactions at the LAA office in Maseru. Many of these forms are being updated as the process for making a transaction is simplified. These forms are provided free of charge.
You can download the forms from the LAA website.
What is Sectional Title & what is happening?
Sectional Title is new form of rights to property. It is similar to rights to land provided by a lease. However, instead of referring to rights to land, Section Title refers to a person/entity having rights to a section or unit in a building complex; this is without the owner necessarily owning the land it is situated on exclusively. A unit may be a flat, apartment or office within a building. The Sectional Title Scheme includes units and common property, such as stairways and lifts and other areas of individual or shared use, demarcated parking bays or garden.
Section Title, the right to part of a property, offers equal security and economic freedom as a lease on land. You can transfer, mortgage or sub-lease your sections or unit of a Sectional Title.
The Section Title Bill is pending in Cabinet awaiting enactment.
What will happen if the plot I have rights to is above the area ceiling of 1000m2?
For a lease to be issued a survey must be conducted to identify the location, size and boundaries of the land you occupy with the agreement by your neighbours. If your land plot falls under the regularisation scheme area, the findings of the adjudication and survey will apply.
The statutory ceiling limit of 1000m2 only applies to new grants, these are allocations made under the Land Act 2010 or the previous 1979 Land Act. Allocations prior to the 1979 and 2010 Lands Acts are not affected.
What is LAA promising in terms of service delivery?
LAA promise to deliver high quality, efficient, and customer-centric services to all clients. To monitor service delivery, LAA will operate according to a set of performance standards. Every endeavour will be made to meet these standards and our customer demands, including hiring quality staff and improving operational procedures
What happens to my rights at the end of a lease term?
When your lease expires or before you can apply for a renewed term and your lease will be renewed accordingly. This applies as long as you have not breached any of the lease terms and conditions.
Do people under age (minors) qualify to hold land?
If you are below the age of 18 AND married you are allowed to have rights to land and acquire a lease.
However, if you are under 18yrs old (a minor) your land rights must be held in trust by a person who is over 18yrs old, until you reach 18 yrs (the age of maturity by law).This means that a trustee can hold a lease on your behalf until you are 18yrs old.
What services will LAA provide in the District?
LAA has a customer service representative in Mohale’s Hoek and Leribe at the District Council Secretary Office. Other Districts will maintain a basic level of service through the District Council Secretary Office in collaboration with LAA. All lease applicants will be referred to Maseru; however as demand increases LAA will make sure to support were necessary in the Districts.
How do I transfer my lease?
When you want to transfer your lease, as the land right owner you need to fill out the forms for this transfer and the transaction is then processed by LAA. The new lease holder will also be required to verify the transfer.
A lease cannot be transferred by handing the document over to another person. The transfer MUST be registered through LAA to maintain protection of the rights.
What happens if my lease is lost? Can I get a Lease Duplicate?
When your lease is lost you report the loss at LAA office, bring with you the Identity document and the number of that lost lease. You will write a letter to the Land Registrar for permission to get a Duplicate, Fill the affidavit to be commissioned by the Police or the Lawyer then LAA will assist with the Notice of a lost Lease to Government printing where it will be gazetted and any local Newspaper. After 21 days you come to LAA with that gazette and a newspaper copy(Publication).
Where is LAA?
The Land Administration Authority, LAA, is located in the old LSPP building, Lerotholi Road, next to Radio/TV Lesotho, Maseru.
LAA has improved access and ensures better service to customers. This includes opening a customer service centre area for all enquiries and transactions. It is also planned that a computerised system will be installed to record, track and process leases and survey information. LAA will also have district representative officers in Leribe and Mohale’s Hoek depending on the demand.
Do I need a consent to mortgage my lease?
No. Once you are issued with a lease, you can go directly to your bank to make your request.
How to get a lease?
A lease is the most secure form of land Rights ownership because it is registered at the deeds registry.
To apply for a lease you need the following:
- A certificate of allocation OR an affidavit from the area chief OR an affidavit from 3 persons resident for over 30 years in your area OR a certificate of verification of title issued by an allocating authority OR a title deed OR any other official document stating that you are entitled to the land OR registered deed of transfer or registered certificate of title registered with Deeds Registry Office.
- A survey plan approved by the chief surveyor showing the location, size and boundaries of the land.
- An identity document such as a passport OR birth certificate, showing that you are qualified to hold land in Lesotho(Land Act 2010,Section 6) OR drivers license OR an affidavit letter from area chief accompanied by your passport size photo. For application on behalf of an association-constitution is required, for company proof of registration-certificate of incorporation.
If I have a lease, are there on-going charges? What about Ground Rent?
- If you have a lease and it is for your primary place of residence, you are exempt from paying ground rent. You must have been approved for exemption. Once exempt you remain exempt until you transfer your lease or change your land use.
- If your lease is NOT your primary place of residence, or it is used for commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes, you will be required to pay annual ground rent to LAA. For example, if you have a lease on a second property, you will have to pay ground rent, because an owner cannot live on two separate properties.
- Ground rent is charged per square metre and this rate will depend on your location. It is an annual fee.
- Other charges like property rates may apply but these are Municipal service charges and not charged by LAA
- LAA Price List
What is happening with my lease application at LSPP?
If you have submitted an application for a lease and your plot falls in the declared project areas of the Regularization Project of LAA, your plot will be regularized and a lease prepared free of charge, provided you have all required supporting evidence. To support your claim, you must have your allocation certificate or any document relating to your claim ready before the project. Also you must fence your plot or at least erect clearly visible corner marks for surveying your boundary.
If you have submitted an application for a lease and your plot does not fall within the declared project areas or is outside Maseru, you are advised to resubmit your application if it was made more than 2 years ago. LAA will process all lease applications within 3 months or less, provided that you can submit all the required documentation, including a land survey.
The Customer Services Division will respond to enquiries on an individual basis at the LAA office in Maseru as there are many reasons for leases not completed. A lease application MUST include a survey of the plot.
What are the new Land Courts?
The Land Courts were established by the 2010 Land Act to accelerate land dispute resolutions, particularly those that may arise during Regularisation. The Land Courts replace Land Tribunals.
If you have a land dispute, you should firstly to use mediation, and if necessary, take the matter to be resolved at the Land Court, rather than going to the High Court.
The Land Court rules are currently awaiting approval.Magistrates, judges and legal practitioners have been trained according to the rules of the Land Courts, to undertake this duty.
These Land Courts are not institutionally nor legally attached to LAA.
Is our land going to be taken away from us?
No. If you have been allocated land by the appropriate authority, you are most likely eligible for a lease. This lease shows that you have rights to your land and those rights to use, transfer, develop your land are protected.
Through this the Government and the Millennium Challenge Account Lesotho are helping people to benefit from their stronger land rights and engage in wider economic opportunities to reduce poverty.
What is the process to get a lease?
Option 1: Participate in the Land Regularization Project
If you have land rights in Maseru you can participate in the Land Regularization Project. The project will recognise existing land rights in declared regularization areas.
To support your claim, you must:
- have your allocation certificate or any document relating to your claim ready before the project.
- Also you must fence your plot or at least erect clearly visible corner marks for surveying your boundary.
Regularisation scheme areas will be gazetted and announced in the papers and in your local community.
Participation is voluntary, and highly encouraged. Chiefs are also encouraged to assist in resolving and identifying owners of disputed plots and dealing with abandoned plots.
Absentee owners can nominate a representative. This lease procedure under regularization is free of charges, but one must pay a small stamp duty tax, usually M8.
Land right owners who live on their plot are automatically exempt from paying ground rent.
The Stamp Duty Tax (a government tax) must be paid prior to receiving your lease.
A person who already holds a lease will not be adjudicated.
Option 2: Apply in person at LAA
If you have rights to a land plot that does not fall within the declared regularisation area or you wish to make your own application especially if it is outside Maseru, you can apply for a lease at any time by coming to LAA Office in Maseru or, in the near future to the LAA Office in Leribe or Mohale’s Hoek.
The process for applying for a lease is:
- You initially have to submit all the lease application documents with customer services for checking at LAA (these are listed in question 3 above).
- Your documents will then be checked by the lease and survey divisions of LAA and a calculation of required payments is made.
- If these documents are all correct, a lease draft will be prepared.
- If documents are not complete, you will be asked to complete the request before any further processing takes place.
- You will be requested by LAA to come and sign two copies of your lease. You will also need to make payment on the fees, ground rent tax (if any applies) and stamp duty tax. The signed lease is then verified and passed to the Deeds Registry (also in LAA).
- The lease copies are signed and sealed by Registrar of Deeds. One copy remains in the Registry, and you will then come to pick up your copy of the lease.
What are the benefits of a lease?
- A lease is the most secure form of land rights ownership because it is registered at the Deeds Registry. A registered lease indicates that the land allocation is legal and your rights are protected by the law and Courts.
- A leaseholder (lessee) can enforce their rights against any other person, including others who contest ownership.
- A lessee can obtain a mortgage bond from the bank, i.e. borrow money using the lease as security.
- A lessee can sub-lease the land to another person and can be confident to get the land back at the end of the sub-lease period.
- A lessee can transfer his/her land rights to their heirs or another person or body; for this transfer to be legal and secure it must be registered at the Deeds Registry.
Are foreigners allowed to own land in Lesotho?
Foreign enterprises have always been allowed to have rights to land in Lesotho. The Land Act 2010 now requires Basotho to form at least a 20% membership or shareholding of the enterprise that wishes to acquire rights in land for investment purposes. A foreign citizen cannot own land as an individual.