A Common Source of Land Disputes

08 March 2017


New land owners without a land title

From my experience working on residential and commercial projects in Yaounde, buying land can be a great investment over time due to its guaranteed higher returns in resale value, however severe land ownership problems can arise and can be a damning experience for a 1st time buyer. An unfortunate individual after spending most of his savings to obtain a dream piece of land, may find himself embroiled in land disputes which penalizes the development of his project.

A villa I had worked on in 2016 experienced a delay because two years after selling the piece of land, the landlord fell on a more ‘generous’ buyer and then decided to resell it, and sought to reimburse my client. After a few stressful weeks of back and forth negotiations, and after seeking legal advice followed by further mediation, a new piece of land was obtained from the landlord not far off, but it was in a less desirable location with a less direct access from the main road.

Scenarios like these are a common source of heartache and many occur just as the owner takes time out to assemble funds to invest on the land or works abroad.

Insufficient documentation to obtain a Building Permit? Its OK!...

A key administrative document required for construction is a building permit, this applies to all new buildings and major alterations to existing ones.

In Yaounde the issuing body is the city council and in order to facilitate this process the government has put in place a website highlighting the step-by-step procedure of the costs and relevant departments with contact details. (See link provided at end)

However, for new land owners who wish to begin works right away but do not have all the documentation for a full building permit, how can they begin construction? A temporary permit known as The Implantation Permit applies.

What's an Implantation Permit?

This is a temporary permit which the Yaounde council has in place to facilitate foundation works to commence onsite whilst waiting for the new land owner to obtain the necessary documentation for a full building permit.

What are the requirements for an Implantation Permit?

The implantation permit requirements are similar to the full building permit, although the cost is lower and processing times shorter, the permit is only to serve as a gateway to obtain the full building permit, whilst allowing the new owner begin works on the land. They mainly require a sale contract between the new owner and landlord, as well as a certificate known as ‘Abandon des droits coutumiers’ from the quarter head. Other documents include a technical document certified by the domains of land as well as architectural / technical studies. Below is a link for further details.

What are the benefits of an implantation permit?

The first benefit is that the implantation permit is obtainable without a land title. The key document the owner needs is a sale contract agreement to engage the procedure.

Secondly the implantation permit takes between 3 to 5 weeks to get as compared to a full building permit which can take up to 12 weeks, excluding the land title procedure which can take up a further 12 weeks (or more!)

However, the key benefit is that with any little investment done on the land, potential buyers are scared to buy. This simply limits the possibility for landlords to sell for the second time.

How to obtain an implantation Permit?

The link below details out the full requirements for the Implantation Permit


And for a full Building Permit




Architect (ONAC No. 289)

NDE FORCOB Architects



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