Guide to Doing Business
in Suriname

Long-term land lease

The legal system recognizes two specific long term land leases: one regulated in the Suriname Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek) and one regulated by the Agriculture Act (Agrarische Wet). Although both legal titles are almost similar.

Long-term land leases (Erfpacht) (originally issued for 75 year terms) are no longer being issued by the Government. Existing long term land leases can, on termination, be converted to Land Lease (Grondhuur) in accordance with the Decree Legal Status Land allocated before 1 July 1982 (Decreet Rechtstoestand vóór 1 juli 1982 uitgegeven gronden), the latest ultimately in 2057. Existing long-term land leases that are not converted into Land Lease will become state property again.

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 lease, 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, to be paid by the leaseholder. 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, by the owner of a long lease, requires approval from the Ministry of Spatial planning, Land and Woodland management.

Long-term land lease may also be established by non-government entities and individuals.