Regarding buying a piece of land, there are several land documents in Nigeria you need to be familiar with. These land titles in Nigeria ensure that you are bestowed with the legal status regarding land ownership. Before you invest in purchasing land in Nigeria, be aware of the fragile nature of the real estate market. The Architect has put together a list of some of the most important land titles you may need when transferring real estate.
The transfer of land ownership and the legal interest in a property in Nigeria is impacted by a number of land documents. A potential land buyer has to be familiar with the applicable land records for the property they wish to buy.
The type or conditions of the property being purchased will determine which documents are acceptable for any prospective real estate transaction. Please be aware that not all documents are required or applicable to a single property. However, in most circumstances, you will need more than one of these land documents in Nigeria to be able to claim ownership of the landed property.
Let us cut to the chase and review a list of the necessary documents for a land or property sale in Nigeria below.
The Top 11 Types of Land Documents in Nigeria
Before continuing, you should be aware that certain of these documents must be cited for the transaction to move forward. That is to say that, without some documents present, there would be no need to continue with the intended purchase. Let’s go further to see these land titles in Nigeria.
Deed of Assignment
A Deed of Assignment is a legal document that serves to register both a land transaction and to transfer ownership of real estate from one party to another. This is effective as of the date stated in the deed. A detailed description of the property and the purchase price are typically included in the deed.
This document is prepared by a legal representative of either the seller (also known as the assignor) or the buyer (also referred to as the assignee).
Certificate of Occupancy
It is a recognized land document that gives you some authority over your property while preserving your ability to use, enjoy, and benefit from it. A certificate of occupancy is a legal document that the state or the federal government issues to landowners to award them 99-year leases.
Those who owned the land prior to 1979 are eligible to receive it. Furthermore, this document is issued by state governments for state government lands. If the land is sold in the future, a governor’s consent will be issued instead. It is one of the most frequently utilized property titles or documents in Nigeria.
A Governor’s Consent is an appendix to a deed of assignment that the assignee submits to the government. This informs the governor that a transaction has occurred, and they need the governor’s consent for the transaction to proceed.
Unlike a C of O, which is a document produced by the government and personally signed by the governor, granting the right of occupancy to the holder for 99 years. The sale of land by someone who possesses a C of O to another person requires government approval. Every time the property is transferred to a new owner, this process is repeated.
A survey plan is used to depict the location and dimensions of landed property. It shows, on paper, the boundaries of the property. This document is verifiable from the surveyor general’s office as all landed properties are registered there. This document also indicates if the land is free from government acquisition. Surveyors are in charge of this document, which is governed by the Surveyor-General.
Contract of Sale of Land
The contract for the sale of land is a document indicating terms agreed upon by both parties before the finalization of the transaction. This is an important land document in Nigeria for every property sale or purchase. It is just an agreement between both parties regarding the applicable property that needs no registration. This document is, however, admissible in court in the event something goes wrong.
Grant of Probate
A grant of probate is a document obtained after establishing the validity of a decedent’s will in the probate registry. The will vests in the executors of the estate all of the assets, making them the legally acknowledged owners of the property.
All of the property owner’s documentation is no longer valid after their demise. In this instance, no document can ensure the transfer of ownership of the properties. The Probate will now be the only acknowledged legal record demonstrating ownership of such property.
Letter of Administration
Letters of Administration are given to the heirs of a person who passes away without a will. This is somewhat similar to a grant of probate. If you don’t have a will, the law creates a list of people who qualify to submit Letters of Administration applications.
Receipt for Land Purchase
A regular receipt or document that reflects the receipt of payment for a specific piece of property or piece of land is a land purchase receipt. When a property is sold, vendors typically provide the buyer with a receipt. However, where the receipt clause is present in the land transfer contract, the receipt may be avoided.
Deed of Gift
It is a document that attests to the transfer of real estate from one person (the donor) to another (the donee) as a gift. This is legally acceptable in land transactions.
Deed of Mortgage
In mortgage transactions, a deed of mortgage is really used to demonstrate the transfer of real estate from the mortgagor (borrower) to the mortgagee (lender). It is a temporary transfer because the mortgagor will have the right to reclaim the property from the lender after the entire loan balance and accrued interest have been paid.
A legal document known as assent is used by the executors or administrators of an estate to transfer ownership of a specific estate to the beneficiaries or any other buyer. This document is accompanied by a copy of a letter of administration.
In conclusion, purchasing real estate in Nigeria is a complex procedure that necessitates the help of an attorney. Since the titles on some properties are complicated, it is necessary to hire a lawyer. Not just any lawyer, but one versed in real estate dealings.
Additionally, lawyers must prepare and evaluate any relevant paperwork. According to Nigerian law, no real estate interest may be transferred without the required documentation.