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SURINAME | Long-term land lease (erfpacht)

The legal system recognizes two specific long term land leases: one legal title regulated in de Civil Code and one regulated by the Agriculture Act. Although both titles are almost similar, the Civil Code long term land lease is only applicable in a small Paramaribo area where long term lease has been granted by a church to private persons.

The Government issued long term land leases (originally issued for 75 year terms) will, on termination, be transferred to Land Lease (Grondhuur) in accordance with the Decree Legal Status Land, the latest ultimately in 2057.

A long-term land lease is the right to hold and use someone else’s real estate property for a fixed (75 years for Government issued long lease) or unlimited period of time against an annual payment in money, products or benefits. For the purpose of constituting a long-term land lease the title should be registered in the appropriate public register.

A long-term land leaseholder exercises all the rights attached to the (real estate) property, provided that this does not cause depreciation of the property value. A long-term leaseholder is entitled to alienate the land, to encumber it with a mortgage or easement for the period of the enjoyment of the long-term lease. The long-term leaseholder is also entitled to build structures, or by mining (further regulated by the Mining Laws) or planting, improve the land. Termination of the long-term lease entitles the long-term leaseholder to undo the aforementioned improvements to which the long-term leaseholder had no obligation to abide by on the basis of the long-term lease agreement. However, damages caused to the land due to undoing of the improvements bring forth a possible liability for compensation. A liability for compensation also applies to negligence or lack of maintenance by the long-term leaseholder and for the right which lapsed due to a wrongful act of the long-term leaseholder. The owner shall then have a personal claim for damages and interests. The long-term leaseholder is also liable for taxes with respect to the real estate property. [article 766 et seq. of the Suriname Civil Code]. Transfer of Government issued long lease require Government approval.