Process of Purchasing a plot:
looking to buy land in Gambia the first thing you should make
sure of is that it does not fall within the Tourist Development
• 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:
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'
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
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.
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!