To provide land administration and management services
  • To ensure equitable access to land and tenure security in order to encourage sustainable social and economic development.
  • To ensure orderly, coordinated, spatially balanced urban and rural land use and development, sustainable use and management of land and land based resources for socio-economic development.
  • To provide timely and accurate land surveying, hydrographic and mapping services for socio- economic development of the country.
The services provided comprise the following; provision of land policy directions, valuation services, allocation of land, resettlement, registration of land; physical planning services; land and hydrographic surveying, mapping services and quality assurance of map products to the country, among others.
The Department of Lands has existed from colonial period as a Department under the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) until 1994 when it was shifted to be a department under the ministry responsible for land matters. The department started as Land Management Department, mainly concentrating on conferring titles and registering dealings in land. It added the valuation and estate management functions upon the dissolution of the Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC).
The department operates at headquarters and in three Regional Offices located in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The department is headed by the Commissioner for Lands. Under the Commissioner for Lands, there are positions of Deputy Commissioner for Lands responsible for Legal Services, Deputy Commissioner for Lands Responsible for Valuation and Deputy Commissioner for Land Responsible for Estate Management. The Regional Offices are headed by Regional Commissioners
Equitable access, secure tenure and sustainable use and management of land and land based resources.
The department is responsible for the provision of legality of land ownership and tenure security. Specifically, it performs the following functions;
  • Lease processing in respect for public and customary land, settlement of land disputes and collection of ground rents
  • Reviewing land policies and land administration
  • Registration of land transactions which includes transfers, leases, mortgages
  • Provision of estate management and valuation services.
Sections Under the Department of Lands
The roles of the Estate Management Services Section are:
  • Development of land in terms of plot demarcation and provision of basic infrastructure, such as access roads, electricity and water;
  • Coordinating allocation of plots by the respective allocation committees in areas where plot allocation committees are in place; and
  • Inspection of leased land to monitor compliance of lease covenants.

The roles of Valuation Section include:

Carrying out assessment of land and properties to determine value for compensation payments by Government; and

Provides valuation services to the public, City and District Councils, National Roads Authority, other government departments and the private sector. This valuation is done on properties for purposes of:

  •   Compensation assessment;
  •   Land rent assessment;
  •   City/Town rates calculation; and
  •   Reserve prices determination.

The Valuation Services section offers the following services;

  • Land and property assessment for various purposes i.e. compulsory purchase, inventory, reserve prices;
  • Fixing and reviewing land rent;
  • Formulation and execution of government valuation policy of all kinds of properties for different purposes;  and
  • Advising government on existing and proposed relevant legislation on valuation.
  • Compensation and resettlement.

Purposes of Valuation

  • Property assessment for insurance
  • Capital valuation (Open Market Valuation)
  • Mortgage (loan Security)
  • Rating
  • Rent
  • Compensation (compulsory purchase)
  • Asset valuation 

The roles of the Legal Services Section are:

  •   Lease processing in respect of public and customary land;
  •   Deeds and title registration;
  •   Land acquisition;
  •   Settlement of land disputes;
  •   Reviewing policies and practices in land administration;
  •   Preparation of tenancy agreements for properties let out and rented by government; and
  •   Collection of Ground and land rent.

Most of the activities of this Section are demand driven depending on the prevailing land market and these include:

  •   Processing of leases;
  •   Approving land transactions;
  •   Issuing consents and certificates of compliance; and
  •   Enforcement of lease covenants.

Generally, the number of consents and certificates issued has increased in the Cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. However, there has been a drop in the number of applications for land transactions in rural areas. This may be attributed to lack or decline of land market in rural areas due to the declining of tobacco industry.

The Legal Services section offers the following services;

  • Preparation of offer letters
  • Approving reserve prices when banks are exercising the power of sale
  • Lease processing;
  • Registration of various land transactions i.e. deeds and little registration; lease/land transfers, cautions, charges, assignments etc. 
  • Land acquisition;
  • Settlement of boundary and land disputes;
  • Reviewing policies and practices in land administration;
  • Preparing tenancy agreements for properties let and rented for and by government and 
  • Collection of land rent.
  • Advising the public on land law, policy and procedures  

The lease process under the Legal Services section;

People get a lease through the lease process and the following is the procedure for obtaining a lease from government;

  • Allocation of land by a chief (if customary land) or by government agencies Lands or district commissioner (if public land)
  • Completion of forms e.g.  Customary land consultation chief’s form in case of customary land, agricultural lease application form if the land is to be used for agricultural purpose and land application forms in case of public land.
  • Production of lease application forms and payment of lease application fee is at K5, 000.00.
  • The District Commissioner recommends the application to the regional commissioner for lands with a map attached
  • Where applicable indicating whether compensation is payable or not 
  • The Regional Commissioner consults the planning authorities to confirm land use and other environmental requirements
  • Ministerial Approval is sought and once granted, an offer of lease is made by the regional commissioner for lands and copies are sent to District Commissioner where required
  • The Offer Of Lease outlines the conditions of the lease e.g. permitted use
  • Acceptance of the offer of lease includes payment of fees and duties required including initial ground rent and compensation where necessary. the fees and duties are stamp duty, registration fee and lease fees
  • A request for a Cadastral Survey is made to the surveyor general where necessary for preparation of deed plans
  • A draft Lease Document is prepared in triplicates to be executed/signed by the two parties, stamped and registered by government
  • Upon being registered copies of the title deeds are distributed accordingly.
  • What remains is that the lease must be paying ground rent using the ground rent notice.