There are many people who get befooled by buying agricultural land for residential purposes. As a matter of fact they get carried away by many people who can befool people for want of money. What happens next is that the buyer has to run from pillar to post to transfer the property in his name.
What such people don’t know is that there is a procedure to be followed to change land use while developing agricultural land for residential purposes. Agricultural land cannot be used for residential purposes. You cannot construct a house on agricultural land to live in although the land may be owned by you. You need to get the land use converted from agricultural to residential before any construction.
When AV asked Mr. Kantharia about the same, he said, “Yes, the procedures are strict and many. I say this because I had to go through all these formalities to acquire a piece of land at Titwala. I literally had to run from table-to-table to get my papers passed to convert my property. What initially happened is that when I bought this piece of land I never had any idea about all this. I was in a haste to buy a land here while the seller showed that he was also in a haste. It took me two to three months to get the property on my name.”
Different states have different procedures to do this.
In case you are purchasing a property, you should check whether the land on which the property is constructed is residential land. In case it was originally allotted as agricultural land, its use should have been converted to residential.
One can convert agricultural land into residential or industrial land by paying a fee. You can get a ‘change of land use’ after obtaining the necessary approval from the local authorities. One has to apply to the commissioner of the land revenue department explaining the purpose of conversion. Along with the application, one needs to attach certain documents such as ID proof, mutation letter, original sale deed (or gift partition deed), latest tax paid receipt and certified survey map. There is a fee to get the land converted depending on the nature of the property and its location.
The details of extent of land, names of the present and previous owners, kind of soil and crops, mortgages etc also need to be provided. Certified copies of these documents can be obtained from the revenue office or the tehsildar. All outstanding dues should be paid in full and copies of payment proof should be attached.
The district or deputy commissioner or collector who is authorised may permit conversion of land if satisfied that the prescribed conditions have been met and there are no pending dues or litigations on the property. The conversion should also be permissible under the master plan of the area. A conversion order permitting the change in land use will then be issued. Also, a conversion certificate will be issued.
Some states have restrictions on land where the use has been converted. It cannot be transferred for a certain period of time without payment of a premium or obtaining permission from the prescribed authority. Similarly, some States have a provision that if the purpose for which the land was converted is not carried out in a certain period of time, the permission is cancelled and the land reverts back to agricultural. So, any agricultural land, converted for a non-agricultural purpose, should be used for such converted purpose within the specified time from the date of issue of the conversion order, failing which the conversion order will be withdrawn and the amount of premium deposited will be forfeited to the State government.
Further, agricultural land converted for residential purposes cannot be used for industrial purposes. The revenue assessment is different in all such different uses of land. When land is converted, the purpose of the conversion is furnished by the land owner. The buyer of such converted land should ask for all documents copy of the application made to convert the land from agricultural to residential and approvals received from the different authorities.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)