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Buying Land in Gambia
  Properties Guide
Process of Purchasing a plot:
When looking to buy land in Gambia the first thing you should make sure of is that it does not fall within the Tourist Development Area (TDA).

Establish Title Deeds
Once you have decided on a piece of land that you are interested in buying you should try and first first get written verification of ownership of the plot from the Alkalo and get a Gambian lawyer to examine the ownership documents in detail.

You must remember that the procedure for purchasing from customary owners is somewhat different to that of leased land (preferable & more straight forward.)

Customary Tenure:
Preparatory Work
1. Check with neighbours next to and near the land you want to acquire if they know who owns the property.

2. Go to the Alkalo of the village to determine from him or her who currently owns the land.

3. Ask the owner for photocopies of the papers for the plot, especially the receipts relating to "rates payment" for the previous and current year.

4. Check with the relevant area council who owns the property, and also show them the copies of "receipts for payments of the rates" (this would show who is the current owner of the land in a direct way since the name of the rate payer is the name of the person who is stated to be the owner of the property.)

5. After determining who the owner is check their "original ID card" or passport against the name of the "Transfer of Ownership Form".

Process of Paperwork:
The document that initiates the land buying activity in Gambia is the 'Transfer of Ownership' form.

There are 6 copies and these should be signed by all parties and witnessed. Before you sign this form it must be accompanied 6 plot sketch plans showing the area you wish to purchase.

The documents should then be signed by the Alkalo (local chief), Seyfo (district chief) and the relevant local government body.

Please note that a plot could be owned by a number of people from the same family called a Kabilo, so their consent to sell their jointly owned property must be given to you in writing, witnessed and signed accordingly.

The land buyer is expected to pay a fee of around 125 which should accompany the Transfer of Ownership Form and is payable at the local government level. After this stage there are other documents involved in the buying process along with other fees.

Other Documents
Certificate of Occupancy
Land Use Clearance and Transfer
Income Tax Clearance from the sellers
Fencing Permit
Leasing  (optional)

Once you have purchased your plot you must try and get the property fenced as soon as possible and if possible paint NOT FOR SALE on all four sides. This is to discourage anyone trying to 're-sell' your what you already own. It might be an idea also to put your mobile telephone number on the wall and build a small single room on the landed property with no frills at all.

Please note: Disclaimer
The above process of purchasing land in Gambia is subject to periodic changes. Always check with the appropriate authorities before proceeding with any transaction process. Always engage the services of a lawyer based in the Gambia before entering into any property purchase, paying of advances and signing any documents with anyone. Potential buyers have been known to have been tricked into 'buying' land that does not belong to the person 'selling'! Furthermore the same area could have been 'sold' to 2 or more people!



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