FabReads Digest with Law #054 – Land Law – Terminologies in Land law (Possession)
Possession means the effective physical or normal control or occupation of a property. Thus, a person in possession is that person who is in actual physical possession of the land.
A person claiming possession must not only prove his relationship to the land but must also prove his physical acts showing exclusive possession of the land. The act of building and planting on the land are acts of possession. He may not necessarily build, he may fence or use some other items to demarcate it and he will be held to be in possession.
See the case of Wuta vs Danquah, where demarcation by wooden pegs was held to be sufficient acts of possession.
ATTRIBUTES OF POSSESSION
The person in possession is not without rights and they are as follows:
- A person who has physical possession is protected by law and has a right to keep away intruders who may interfere with his possession. Though he may not be able to keep out a person with better title.
- A person in possession can resist and sue the person with better title for trespass. In this case, a person with better title may have to go to court to eject him from possession. This is based on the presumption that a person in possession has title to the property until a person with better title is established and declared by a competent court.
However, the possessory right of a person in possession can be maintained and upheld against other trespassers. In fact, if the rightful owner does not take any action for a period of time, the possessory right may ripen into title for lapse of time and the rightful owner is caught by the defence of latches and acquiescence.