Know your rights : Gov't can take your land - Your property is protected under the law - Part 2

February 28, 2017
This man desperately tries to remove a piece of zinc attached to his home at 85 Red Hills Road in St Andrew. The Government has signalled its intention to buy the land from its private owners and hand it over to the squatters who now live there.

Last week we looked at several situations that could result in persons taking possession of your property or your property being compulsorily acquired. Sometimes, this could be temporarily. However, the law protects you against someone squatting or capturing your land. Under the law, property includes motor vehicle, money, jewellery or even the breadfruit tree that is on the land you own.

This week, we complete the list of instances under which persons may take possession of your property or the property can be acquired compulsorily by the Government.

Consider these scenarios:

- There may be a need for work to be carried out in soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources. In such a case, samples may be required from your land, or the entire property might be possessed for the purpose examination.

- You have land on which you are required to carry out improvement or agricultural development but you have refused or failed to do so without reasonable and lawful excuse. If so, the authorities may take possession of your property by compulsory acquisition.

If the land that you own or lawfully occupy is in a dangerous state or is injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants, the authorities can take possession of it in the interest of public health or safety.

These instances notwithstanding, your property should not be arbitrarily acquired or taken possession of.

Remember that if you believe that your property was acquired unlawfully, you have the right of access to a court to:

1. Establish your interest or right over the property;

2. Determine the amount of compensation (if any) to which you are entitled;

3. Enforce your right to such compensation.

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