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Property owners warned over rentals 

 

‘Mantoetse Maama

THE Land Administration Authority (LAA) says those who miss the 31 March 2015 deadline to pay ground rentals would be penalised.

According to the LAA Executive Manager, Tankiso Sephoso, the rent is mandatory as prescribed by the law, and those who continue to default would suffer the consequences.

“Ground rent is not tax, but a fee that is payable annually. The money depends on the size of the property and its location and what the site is being used for, whether it is for residential or commercial purposes,” Mr Sephoso said.

Because the rent is regulated by law, non-payment is a crime, he added.

“It started with section 69 of the Land Act 1979, and people who acquired their properties then knew they were obliged to pay ground rent.

“In 2010, when a new law kicked-in, it was only reinforcing what was already in place.

“The LAA urges people to come and pay because if they miss the deadline, penalties will accumulate.”

The rent, he added, does not take into account any developments which would have been done on the site.

“People tend to confuse ground rent with tax and council rates. The law also says a levy of 10 percent of due ground rent, plus the current Central Bank of Lesotho prime lending interest rate per year shall be payable by anyone who is in default of payment, so it is advisable that property owners pay the rent timeously.”

Mr Sephoso also said the LAA does not have the power to evict anyone from their land, but still plays an important role in ensuring property owners enjoy other benefits.

“Councils are the ones empowered to take such action if necessary. We don’t allocate land, but councils do. After one has acquired the land, he or she then comes to the LAA to apply for a lease,” Mr Sephoso said.

“With a lease, one enjoys benefits such as using it as collateral to get a loan from the bank or sub-lease the site. But if property owners don’t pay the rent, they cannot be assisted should they want to use their land to access certain facilities and privileges.”

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