The deed of assignment is an essential land document required to bind legality of transaction between two parties. Extensively, it transfers the ownership of land or property from a seller (an assignor) to a new buyer (the Assignee).
A Deed of Assignment can only be prepared by a lawyer in Nigeria. The legal counsel of the buyer drafts out this document, deed of assignment, to represent the interest of his client. Thereafter, the legal counsel of the seller scrutinizes and executes this document to project mutual consensus, between the duo.
In cases where the property is part of an estate, the assignor’s lawyer may prepare the deed for examination by the assignee’s lawyer.
However, as an assignee, you must extensively register the deed of assignment with the relevant land registry, to establish legal proof that the property has changed hands and to inform the public that you are the new owner of the property.
To register, two basic steps must have presided. Basically, the process to obtain the deed of assignment involve three stages;
– Obtaining Governor’s Consent
– Stamping of Deed
Obtaining Governor’s Consent:
The Land Use Act, LFN 2004, stipulates that the Governor’s consent must be acquired.
Having registered the purchased property in the seller’s name at the registry, the application must be made with the Land Form 1c, which must be duly signed and dated by the parties to the transaction and sworn to before a magistrate or notary public.
Afterwards, the application is sent to any Commissioner specifically designated for that purpose by the Governor to sign the land document.
Stamping of Deed
Following the Governor’s approval, the solicitor must guarantee that the stamp duties charged on the transaction is paid.
Failure to pay stamp duties attract penalties such as non-acceptance for registration and the instrument will be inadmissible in evidence in court (Section 22 of the Stamp Duties Act).
A deed of assignment or conveyance that alienates a land interest is important to register. This is because it is a document that affects land in which one party confers or extinguishes a right or title interest in land in favor of another party.
Registration is made in order to avoid fraud and problems arising from the suppression or omission of instruments when title is deduced.
Specifically, a deed of assignment is important because it;
- Create formality
A deed of assignment is a formal contract acting as the main document between the vendor and the purchaser to show that all negotiations, investigations, and other necessary due diligence have been done.
- Serves as a solid evidence of transfer
It serves as a solid root of title to the land. If a third party attempts to claim ownership of the same land, this document can come in handy to validate your ownership receipt.