Real Estate FAQ: How Do I Transfer A Property In Nigeria?

October 29, 2021by Sterling Homes0

In Nigeria, there are about four laws that govern the registration of land and transfer of land property, specifically in Lagos state.

The laws include the Land Use Act of 1978 ; Administration of Estate Law of Lagos State 2015; Land Registration Law of Lagos State 2015 and Stamp Duties Law of Lagos State 2015.

After going through the practical steps of acquiring a parcel of land and actually owning one, an individual is expected to go to the Lands Commission with his or her documents to begin the registration process.

After lands are registered, it is possible to transfer them to others. A title or interest in real estate can be transferred from one person to another through the process of alienation. This can be done either voluntarily (that is, with the owner’s consent) or involuntarily. A voluntary transfer includes an indenture or deed by testament or will. A deed is a written instrument transferring an interest in real property to the grantee.

Another form of voluntary transfer, is when the government takes over a property of land through a legal process for a specific purpose that is useful for the general public. Owners of such lands are duly compensated. Mostly, such lands are used in road construction or to provide utility services.

Involuntarily, land title can be transferred when the owner of the title dies or could not maintain possession of the title. This type of ownership is known as adverse possession.

These are the various ways that land titles can be transferred from one owner to the other in Nigeria. You’ll get to know all in this article.

Certificate Of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is a government-issued document that grants a person, a group of individuals, or a corporation possession and right of occupancy in a certain piece of land for all purposes for a period of 99 years.

One of the distinct features of the Certificate of Occupancy is that  no land in Nigeria can carry two Certificates of Occupancy because it is the first document given on land, whether bare or built, which has never been recorded in the Land Registry.

Right of Occupancy (R of O)

A lot of people mistake R of O for C of O title.  Right of Occupancy (R of O) is simply an offer or a right to use and occupy a land, it does not mean that the person in question have any claims of ownership to the land. However, the C of O is the superior title. The Right of Occupancy often referred to as the “R of O”, was introduced by the Land Use Act.

Deed Of Assignment

A Deed of Assignment is the crucial document used by a land seller and a buyer to prove ownership in the seller’s favor, while a Certificate of Occupancy merely states that the holder has exclusive possession of the land.

A Deed of Assignment must be registered at the Land Registry to show legal proof of an exchange of ownership of title in the land and to inform the public that the land is encumbered, while a Certificate of Occupancy indicates that the landowner has been given a right of occupancy by the State Government where the land is situated.

Apart from the Certificate of Occupancy, the deed of assignment is the most recognized property document in Nigeria. It helps to trace the history of how a land or property got to the present owner, as well as any dispute that might have occurred.

The deed of assignment must contain the names and descriptions of the parties, detailed description of the property, agreed purchase price, acknowledgement of receipt of that amount, the capacity in which the vendor is selling, a warranty that he had the right to sell etc.

Deed Of Lease

A Deed of Lease is the formal document entered into for a commercial property by the tenant and landlord after an Agreement to Lease is signed. It is prepared based on the information contained in an Agreement to Lease after terms have been reached by the landlord and the tenant, whether orally or in writing.

Deed Of Sub-lease

The Deed of Sub-lease  is the legal document signed and stamped, indicating a land property transaction between the leaseholder of land sub-leasing his/her unexpired lease term to a third party.

Deed Of Mortgage

The mortgage deed is the transfer of an interest in land as security for the discharge of a debt or the performance of an obligation subject to redemption. Often simply referred to as the mortgage, the mortgage deed is the document transferred to the mortgage holder.

Survey Plan

A Survey Plan is the primary document you receive from your Land Surveyor after he has completed the survey of your land. It is a very important document and it is required for almost all land transactions. You need it for deed preparation, confirmation of record copy submission, land information certificate processing, title processing, transfer of title, obtaining of loan from bank, mortgage processing etc.

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