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Types of land ownership in Uganda

Types of Land Tenure Systems in Uganda – Land Ownership in Uganda

Land in Uganda belongs to the people of Uganda and shall vest in them in accordance with the land tenure systems provided for in this Constitution and therefore land tenure refers to the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land.

Article 237(1) of the Constitution states that land belongs to the citizens of Uganda and Article 26(1) protects the right to own property either individually or in association with others for instance groups of people who hold land communally. Land tenure system in Uganda is an important part of economic, political and social structures.

The citizens of Uganda hold land under four tenure systems these categorized as: private mailo title, Freehold titles, Leasehold title and Customary. (Article 237 (3) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and Section 2 of the Land Act)

Private Mailo Tenure system is land held by a land owner which has its roots from the 1900 Uganda Agreement. It is mainly in the Buganda region, currently central Uganda. Both the land owner registered on the certificate of tittle and tenants by occupancy. Private Mailo land owners have the same rights as freehold land owners, the assignment of rights to a private party who may be an individual, a married couple, a group of people, or a corporate body such as a commercial entity or non-profit organization.

Freehold Tenure system refers to land held/owned by an individual registered on the certificate of title as the land owner for life. Freehold land is the most popular for most Ugandans. For Leasehold and customary land titles can be changed to freehold land. (Sections 28 and 29 of the Land Act)

Leasehold Tenure system is land which a land owner allows another person to take exclusive possession for a specific period of three years or more in exchange for rent. A lease may be created either under a contract between the parties or by law. The person granted a lease must use the land for the specific purpose as agreed with the land owner. (Section 3(5) of the Land Act

This how a lease is created by law in Uganda

  • The person granted to lease from local government and Kingdom owned land in Uganda.
  • A non-citizen person or company which acquires land in Uganda because non-citizens cannot own mailo, freehold or customary land.

Customary Tenure system is refers to land that is owned based on the norms and traditions of a given community or society in Uganda. One can even own land individually under customary tenures long as it has been handed down from generation to generation using that society’s customs.

(Section 27 of the Land Act)In 2015, the government of Uganda introduced Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) for owners of customary land. A customary landowner can apply for a CCO as proof of ownership of the land. Below

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