Land grabbing has become a major concern for the country’s property market. Karachi’s real estate is notorious for it, but the fact is that it exists all over the country. People can illegally settle down on your property – an uninhabited home or plot – and come up with fake rent or sales agreements. I have compiled a list of the measures you can take to keep your property safe.
Possession is as important as acquiring documents
Make sure no one has prior possession of the plot you are buying. Doing a little research will go a long way in protecting your interests. After acquiring the documents, inform the concerned authorities in your area, like Karachi Development Authority (KDA) in Karachi and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in Lahore, about the transfer of property. Getting in touch with the authorities will be easier if they have been involved from the get go.
Build a boundary wall
It may come off as an obvious move, but trust me it’s important. A wall is a signal to potential land-grabbers that the land isn’t empty and actual owner of the place isn’t far. Even if you don’t build a complete wall, at least create a visible demarcation to let everyone know it belongs to you. In some cases, people have also put up signboards with the name and number of the actual owner to ensure that whoever is eyeing it knows that the owner is around.
Make yourself visible
Keep visiting the place to make sure that there aren’t any illegal construction starting on your property. You can get chummy with your neighbours so that they can inform you in case land-grabbers make their move. If you have invested in a society, make sure that you stay in touch with the management. And make sure that all property dealers in the area know that you are the owner of that particular piece of land. Socialise with the main players of the property business in that area. It may seem like a lot of work, but many of my sources suggest that these moves generally help you remain safe. This is especially important for areas that are prone to land grabbing.
Keep your property documents safe with you
And be careful when you make copies of your property documents. Producing fake documents becomes easier if the forgers have access to copies of the original documents. If you try to pursue the matter legally, it will come down to the documentation in some cases.
Get a guard
An empty home or plot – because the owner is out of city/country – even in posh areas can invite illegal possession. A trustworthy guard will keep land-grabbers away or at least inform you of a problem. Having someone on the property can help you keep your property safer than if it is left on its own.