Legal Formalities & Conveyancing Costs In Gambia

Just as in European Law it is always recommended that a purchaser or seller of property or land instruct a reputable solicitor or conveyancer to act for them so it is equally advisable in The Gambia. If necessary we have a firm of highly qualified Gambian Lawyers/Barristers fluent in English and other languages, who will be delighted to act for you in any land transactions you wish to undertake.

Legal Formalities & Property Conveyancing Costs

Land in the Gambia is registered at the Property Registry (an organisation just like the English Land Registry), where you can confirm immediately whether the seller owns the property free of any liens and encumbrances. Just as in Europe, however, there is still plenty of land/property which remains as yet unregistered. To avoid any ensuing confusion it is necessary for European purchasers/sellers to understand the difference between the terms freehold and leasehold used both there and in Gambia. These terms have very different implications in Gambia to those in Europe.

In Gambia there is no such thing as absolute ownership of land and property. This is because all the land is ultimately owned by the Government and is leased to any private purchaser for a period of 99 years but this confusingly DOES NOT constitute leasehold land.

This land/property can be either leasehold or freehold depending on whether or not it has been registered at the Property Registry. If it is unregistered it has a freehold status, whereas registered land/property is denoted leasehold. It is important to register previously freehold land/property as leasehold at the Property Registry during the purchasing process thus documenting your unequivocal ownership of the same

Unless an immediate cash payment is made in full, the conveyancing process.is conducted by a private contract being drawn up by the respective lawyers determining the property, purchase price, form of payment, date of completion, date of possession etc. Just as in European law a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price, is paid on the signing of the Contract for a standard completion period within approximately 30 days.

On payment of the balance of the purchase price the seller will issue a public deed of conveyance to the purchaser, free of liens and encumbrances. This deed is issued and passed to the Tax Office to be assessed for Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty and then sent to the Property Registry for formal registration.