Avoid agriculture land sale fraud  

“Pssst Pssst June, hear dis nah… ah hav ah two acres ah land feh sale, yuh interested?” if someone comes whispering to you about property that they have for sale in that manner run, don’t walk, don’t skip just run. No good can ever come from the exchange of goods or services via a whisper. 
A farmer on Sawzi Land Photo by whl.travel, CC by 2.0
A farmer on Swazi Land
Image by whl.travel, CC by 2.0

Owning property is the dream of practically every individual, but not everyone goes about it legally. Recent Police reports indicate that land sale fraud is on the rise and has urged Trinibagoian (Trinidadians and Tobagonians) citizens to be vigilant when conducting land purchase transactions. Unfortunately, agricultural land often finds itself as the main culprit in these situations as it is used to bait potential farmers. These farmers are then tricked into paying exorbitant fees for property which in the end sometimes turns out not to belong to the acclaimed owner.

In this post, I am going give you Three (3) ways to avoid land sale fraud:

1. DO NOT enter into any land purchase transaction without seeking sound legal counsel. I highly recommended hiring a lawyer with experience in real estate or property management.

2. NEVER agree to use the Vendor’s lawyer. Even if you are purchasing the property from your neighbour or family member, it is always best to find your attorney.

3. STAY in contact with your lawyer until the transaction is completed. 

I know the above sounds simple enough but trust, I have met several people who have been duped by land sale fraud. When purchasing property your lawyer or agent would draft the agreement. You would then be required to pay a 10% deposit. After making the payment your attorney or agent would conduct a search (which is referred to as a “Title Search“) with the documents presented by the vendor. The search is to determine that all the information submitted by the seller is, in fact, accurate. If any discrepancy is found, you would be advised by your legal representative to cancel the sale and request a refund of your deposit.

Be wise my dear farmers I know you want to secure your land tenure but make sure it’s legal, else you will lose out in the end. I’m curious, do any you have a similar issue in your country? If yes, what advice is offered to your country’s farming community?

Photo courtesy: Flickr


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