WHAT IS A LEASE.
A Lease on Land is Permission to use some one’s land with exclusive rights for a period of five (5) years and above for a specific purpose with agreed terms between the lessor (Land Owner) and the Lessee (A person to use the land).
Exclusive Possession guarantees utilization of the land without interference from the land owner for a given period. Note: A Sublease is a lease granted by a lessee to a third party with consent of the lessor for a period of not less than five (5) years. The original lessee becomes the sub- lessor and the sub-lessee becomes the lessee.
TENANCY ON LAND IN UGANDA
Tenancy on land is an agreement where a land owner grants another person permission to occupy land and enjoy exclusive possession for a period below five (5) years in exchange for rent. Tenants do not acquire an interest in land but simply enjoy rights to use the land for the duration of the tenancy. There are three types of tenants namely: periodic tenancies, tenants at will and tenants at sufferance.
1. Periodic Tenancy is where a person enters into an agreement with a land owner to occupy his or her land or property, enjoy exclusive possession and pay rent on a regular periodic basis for instance weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. Periodic tenancy is renewable depending on the agreement between the parties. Before a periodic tenancy is terminated by either the landlord or tenant, reasonable notice must be given depending on the terms of the agreement or the period of the tenancy, if the agreement is silent on the notice period, for instance a weekly tenancy requires notice of one week, a monthly tenancy requires notice of one month while a quarterly tenancy requires notice of three months and so on. The only exception to this is an annual tenancy which requires notice of six months.
2. Tenant at Will. A tenant who is in possession of the land with consent or permission of the land owner before the tenancy contract is finalized or continues to stay on the land after the tenancy has expired prior to its renewal. This tenant is not entitled to notice to leave the premises but it is prudent to give them reasonable notice.
3. Tenant at Sufferance A tenant who remains in possession of the land after the expiry of the tenancy without the consent or objection of the land owner. This tenant is not entitled to notice to leave the premises but it is prudent to give them reasonable notice.
A Licence is Permission to enter another person’s land for some specific purpose, which without such authorization would amount to trespass. A licence neither grants the licensee exclusive possession nor an interest in the land.
LEASEHOLD TENURE IN UGANDA
Leasehold tenure is contracted out by owners or holders of customary, freehold, mailo, or public land. It is the tenure type most commonly used by foreign investors. Foreigners may obtain contracts for leases of land of up to 99 years, with the opportunity for renewal. By the Land Act of 1998, Section 40(2), “A lease of five years or more acquired by a noncitizen shall be registered in accordance with the Registration of Titles Act.” The Registration of Titles Act of 1924 lays out the procedures for registering leaseholds. Long-term leases can be used as collateral to obtain a commercial loan.
Public land controlled by the District land board is available for leasing by a District Land Board to an applicant when it is either;
(i) vacant and there are no conflicting claims to it, (ii) or is occupied by the applicant and there are no adverse claims to that occupation, (iii) or where the applicant is not in occupation but has a superior equitable claim to that of the occupant, (iv) or where the applicant is not in occupation but the occupant has no objection to the application.
A non-Citizen cannot acquire land in Uganda under Freehold or Mailo Tenure. A non-citizen is
a) A person who is not a citizen of Uganda under the emigration laws
b) In the case of a co-operate body, a corporate body in which the controlling interest lies with non-citizens
c) In the case of bodies where shares are not applicable, where the body’s decision-making lies with non-citizens
d) A company in which the shares are held in trust for non-citizens
e) A company incorporated in Uganda whose articles of association do not contain a provision restricting transfer or issue of shares to non-citizens. Any lease acquired by a non-citizen of at least five years or more must be registered and such a lease cannot exceed 99yrs. The National Land Policy reduces this period to 49Years.
If a Ugandan who holds land in Freehold and Mailo tenure loses their citizenship, their land automatically changes to a lease of 99 years. This is because a non-citizen can only own land in leasehold tenure.
Who is a citizen of Uganda
i. Every person born in Uganda, one of whose parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing within the borders of Uganda as at the first day of February, 1926 and set out in the third schedule of the constitution.
ii. Every person born in or outside Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents was at the time of birth of that person, a citizen of Uganda by birth.
iii. A child of not more than five years of age found in Uganda whose parents are not known is presumed to be Ugandan
iv. A child under the age of eighteen years neither of whose parents is a citizen of Uganda, who is adopted by a citizen of Uganda upon registration shall be a citizen of Uganda
v. A person who successfully applies for and is registered as a citizen of Uganda
What is dual citizenship?
In Uganda, dual citizenship means the simultaneous possession of two citizenships of which one is Uganda.
When did the law on dual citizenship come into force?
Until 2009, dual citizenship was prohibited in Uganda by Article 15 of the Constitution. Article 15 was amended by constitutional amendment. Pursuant to which the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendments) Act 2009 was enacted providing for dual citizenship in Uganda.
HOW TO RENEW A LEASE IN UGANDA.
1. All land leases expire on the last day of the contractual period.
2. Some leases are renewed automatically while others must be renewed subject to grant upon request depending on the lease terms.
3. You can only renew a lease expired that is when the lease period comes to an end. However, should you want to change anything in ongoing lease you may go for lease variation or extension.
CONVERSION OF LEASEHOLD INTO FREEHOLD IN UGANDA.
A lease which was granted to a Ugandan citizen out of former public land can be converted to freehold. Where a lease of land exceeding one hundred hectares is converted into freehold, the owner shall pay the market value as determined by the chief government valuer for the new interest before the conversion becomes effective and the money paid shall become part of the Land Fund.