Property Registration

Verify land ownership with a survey engineer from the Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing

Agency: Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment

Before closing the negotiations, it is common practice in Juba for the seller, and the buyer to visit the plot of land together with a survey engineer from the Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment as the addresses are not explicitly indicated in the streets of Juba.

Before the visit, the seller has to show the following documents to the survey engineer:

  • Copy of the lease;
  • Copy of the Search Certificate obtained by the seller when acquiring the plot;
  • Copy of the Croquis (sitemap) obtained by the seller when purchasing the plot.

The seller and the buyer bring the survey engineer to the site. The survey engineer testifies that the plot of land belongs to the seller and shows the buyer the position and the dimensions of the plot.

Time and cost: 7 days, no charge

Obtain a copy of the search certificate for sale and the confirmation of ownership from the Land Registry of the High Court

Agency: Land Registry of the High Court

Before drafting the deed of transfer with a lawyer, the seller must obtain a search certificate for sale from the Land Registry at the High Court in Juba.

To obtain the search certificate for sale, the seller has to pay the fees in cash and present the following documents:

  • Copy of the lease;
  • Copy of the search certificate obtained by the seller when acquiring the plot;
  • Copy of the croquis (sitemap) obtained by the seller when purchasing the plot.

The search certificate for sale is valid for 7 days from the moment when it has been issued. If the certificate is not used within 7 days, the seller would need to return the old certificate to the Land Registry to obtain a new one.

The information is not digitalized at the Land Registry, and the search is done with hard copies. The document certifies that the seller is the owner of the property. This procedure also alerts the court that a selling process will take place.

Time and cost: 5 days, SSP 8 (SSP 7 for the search certificate for sale + SSP 1 for stamp duty)

Draft the deed of transfer with a lawyer

Agency: Lawyer

After obtaining the search certificate for sale from the High Court, the seller and the buyer meet a lawyer along with two witnesses to draft a deed of transfer.

To draft the deed of transfer, the lawyer examines the following documents:

  • Copy of the newly-issued search certificate of sale obtained by the seller from the Land Registry of the High Court;
  • Copy of the lease (in possession of the seller);
  • Copy of the croquis (sitemap) and confirmation of ownership obtained by the seller when acquiring the plot;
  • Identification documents of the seller, buyer, and their witnesses;
  • Affidavit authorizing the representative of the selling company to act on its behalf;
  • Affidavit authorizing the representative of the buying company to act on its behalf.

It is possible to make the contract at the Court, but the delay is longer.

Time and cost: 1 day, SSP 1,500

Obtain form for consent to assign premises held on lease (Form 31A) from the Land Registry at the High Court

Agency: Land Registry of the High Court

After drafting the deed, the parties go to the Land Registry of the High Court to obtain Form 31A. This form has to be signed by the Director of Lands to authorize the transfer of the lease.

Time and cost: 7 days, SSP 5 (SSP 3 for administrative fees + SSP 1 for application form 31 A + SSP 1 for stamp duty)

Obtain leasehold document from the Directorate of Land of the Ministry of Housing

Agency: Directorate of Land of the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment

To change the name of the buyer on the document of the lease, the buyer has to pay 10% of the property value and submit the following documents to the Directorate of Land of the Ministry of Housing:

  • Form 31A (duly filled);
  • Deed of transfer;
  • Search Certificate for Sale.

After authorizing the transfer of the leasehold, the Directorate of Land issues three documents to the buyer:

  • New lease (bearing the name of the buyer);
  • Approval of the Land Authority (Form 31A, signed by the Director of the Land’s
  • Authority);
  • Receipt of payment.

Time and cost: 7 days, SSP 325,142.46 (10% of the property value)

Register the transfer of the lease at the Land Registry of the High Court and obtain a new search certificate and a letter to change the lease

Agency: Land Registry of the High Court

To register the transfer of the leasehold in the name of the buyer, the buyer has to submit the following documents to the Land Registry of the High Court:

  • New lease (bearing the name of the buyer);
  • Approval of the Land Authority (Form 31A, signed by the Directors of the Land
  • Authority);
  • Receipt of payment from the Directorate of Land.

Depending on the time passed from the moment when the parties signed the deed of transfer to the moment when the transfer is registered at the Land Registry, the following fees apply:

  • 2.5% of the property value (1 day to 6 months);
  • 4% of the property value (6 months to 1 year);
  • 6% of the property value (older than 1 year).

Fees are paid in cash at the Land Registry of the High Court. Upon receipt of payment, the Registrar transfers the name of the owner in the register books and keeps a copy of the document of transfer. Subsequently, the Registrar issues the buyer with a Search Certificate for change of ownership attesting that the land now belongs to the buyer.

The registrar checks the value of the property. If the value is low, the registrar researches the price of nearby properties, changes the valuation of the property and consequently adjusts the fees to pay for the transfer. In the process, there is no inspection of the property.

Time and cost: 14 days, SSP 81,300.61 (2.5% of the property value + SSP 15 for the registration of 2nd class property)

Request a new croquis (sitemap) from the Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing

Agency: Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment

To complete the transfer of land, the buyer has to obtain a new croquis (sitemap) from the Survey Department of the Ministry of Housing. This document has to be attached to the other documents officializing the transfer of the lease under the name of the buyer (i.e. search certificate issued by the High Court + leasehold issued by the Land Directorate).

To obtain this document, the buyer has to present the following documents to the Survey Department:

  • Copy of the Lease (bearing the name of the buyer);
  • Copy of the Search Certificate.

To obtain the croquis, the buyer has to pay a fee equal to 2% of the property value in cash to the Survey Department. Upon receipt of payment, the survey engineer will draft a croquis and issue it to the buyer. The buyer has the right to request the survey engineers to visit the plot before drawing the croquis. This visit does not carry any additional cost and takes place on the same day in which the croquis is issued. After receiving the croquis, the buyer attaches it to the other documents attesting to the transfer of the lease.

The cost of the croquis depends on the location of the plot:

  • 1st class area: SSP 250;
  • 2nd class area: SSP 125;
  • 3rd class area: SSP 62.

A commercial building in our case study assumption can be constructed in a 2nd class area.

Time and cost: 7 days, SSP 65,353.49 (2% of the property value + SSP 125 for the croquis (for 2nd Class building) + SSP 200 for the service)