Owing to the growing population, the purchase of land in Nigeria has been in high demand. People aspire to own land in Nigeria, expatriates aspire to take a share of the lands in order to serve a commercial or residential purpose. With the growing demand for landed property, it’s a pity that only about 12% of land purchasers know and comprehend what land documents truly mean and the reason which they serve. When purchasing land it is imperative that one must have an understanding of the documents which governs land transactions.

Having title documents that are important and recognized by different government rules and laws on such landed properties is one of the most significant methods for making a claim for land ownership as well as in any landed properties.

There are 6 Basic title documents relevant to landed property ownership in Nigeria which are:

  1. Certificate of occupancy: A certificate of occupancy is a document issued by a local government agency or building department certifying a building’s compliance with applicable building codes and other laws, and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is evidence that the building complies substantially with the plans and specifications that have been submitted to, and approved by, the local authority.
  2. Deed of assignment/conveyance: This is a very important document. It traces the history of how the property or land has reached the present owner to date. It is important so it must be demanded and given to the buyer of the land after the closing of the transaction of land or property. It contains some significant information for a real estate transaction. For one, it spells out the date when the ownership of the property transfers from one owner to the other. The deed also gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership.
  3. Deed of lease: It is also known as Governor’s Consent. This land document is obtained whenever you buy land with C of O. It’s the land document that lets the Governor and the general public know that the land in question has changed hands.The Deed of Lease was used to transfer property especially government properties in Ikoyi, Surulere, Victoria Island axis of Lagos state during the mid-70s and 80s after the promulgation of the Land Use Act. Deed of Lease is important to have in place if you are considering selling your business or selling your commercial property as a landlord.
  4. Deed of sublease: This is another relevant legal document. A deed of sublease could refer to a document by which a tenant or lessee sublets a part or all of the leased premises to a third party.
  5. Land certificate: This refers to a document issued by the land registry to the owner of registered land as a proof of ownership of a piece of land. Prior to the promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978, it was issued by a government’s land registry for registered freehold or leasehold lands in Nigeria. Land Certificate was usually issued to owners of landed properties when the Property Conveyancing Law of 1959 was still in effect.
  6. Survey Plan: This is a document which explains the measurements and boundaries of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land. It discloses the true ownership status in any properties transaction. It reveals if any land is not under any government acquired or committed lands/area.
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