Black’s Law Dictionary interprets the word caveat to mean “let him be ware” and it defines it to mean a formal notice or warning given by a party interested against the performance of certain acts with in his power and jurisdiction.
Caveats in land therefore can be defined as a formal notice or warning given by a party interested in land to a court, judge or registrar of titles against the performance of certain acts within his power and jurisdiction.
Section 139 of the Registration of Titles Act Cap 230 gives power to a person who is a beneficiary or other persons claiming interest in land to lodge a caveat with the registrar in accordance with the 15th schedule forbidding the registration of any person as transferee or proprietor.
Section 139 and 140 require that no dealing in land should be done where there is in force a caveat forbidding the same. It is prudent for one who is unable to complete payment to lodge a caveat to prevent another person from obtaining the interest It is trite law that a transfer effected while a caveat is in force is void and ineffectual to pass title.
A lawful occupant can also lodge a caveat to protect his interest. A lawful occupant is a person occupying land by virtue of the busullo envujjo laws or the Toro Ankole land and tenant laws. Or a person who has entered the land with the consent of the registered owner or a person in occupation of customary tenure but whose tenancy was not disclosed or compensated by the registered owner.
When a beneficiary lodges a caveat, that caveat does not elapse until the interest of the beneficiary is taken care of as provided in section 141 and 144 of the RTA Cap 230. If it is to be removed, the beneficiary has to be given notice and consents to the same.
The steps are: draft the caveat with particulars like names, the forbidding clause and well witnessed.
Fees and stamp duty are payable. It must be accompanied by a statutory declaration giving reasons why the caveat is being lodged. This is lodged to the Registrar of Titles in duplicate.