Buying or Leasing Property in Lagos and the Real Estate Law generally in Nigeria play a vital role on rules regulating human habitation, commercial, residential leases & development and business since land or property is one of the most important factors of production and the effects on people and businesses are enormous in real estate and property sector of Nigeria economy.
The law that primarily govern Land purchase in Nigeria are Statutes, Common Law, Case Law, Customary Law and Land use Act of 1978, with other amended laws in each State of Nigeria.
IMPORTANT LEGAL QUESTIONS A LAND BUYER MUST ASK
- Physical inspection of the land or property by a representative or buyer.
- Request for all legal & title documents in respect of the land showing the names of:
- The Seller
- For company- at least two Directors & signatures
- Trustees – at least three persons and their signatures
- State & Federal Government
- The buyer must ask questions on whether there is any litigation on the land or property.
- Request for Court Registered WILL or Letter of Administration/Probate Documents in respect of an inherited land.
- For Family Properties – Legal Documents showing the source of title of the Family land and the Deed must be signed by Head of the Family and Principal members of the Family accredited to sign.
- For State and Federal Government Land:
- Copy of Deed of Sublease between the State or Federal Government
- Letter of Allocation
- Evidence of full payment of the Allotee Land price paid to the Government
- Land Purchase Receipt
- For Lekki & Epe Areas, most of the Land in this area are acquired by the State Government and released by the State Government by way of legal title given to the family called Land Excision and which are usually Gazetted. it is an equivalent of Certificate of Occupancy to the family.
- The buyer of Lekki Land or Property must ask for a copy of Excision already Gazetted by Lagos State Government the Survey Plan of the Land must be Charted by the Surveyor at Survey Department to determine whether it is an Acquired Government Land not good for purchase or not.
- Copy of source of the title of Seller.
- Evidence of documents of the family on the land.
- Copy of Consent from Lagos State Government.
- Land Purchase Receipt
After being satisfied with all the questions and demands above, the Attorney can go ahead to conduct a legal search on the property.
- The conduct of search at the Land Registry must include:
- Particulars of the property
- Date of search
- Place of search
- Name of the owner
- Nature of the interest or whether there is a mortgage or liability on it
- Result of the Search whether there is an Encumbrance (meaning problem or negative legal interest) on the land or not.
- Comment and opinion of a lawyer on the search report whether the land is good to buy or not.
If the Attorney is satisfied with the result of the land title investigation, he will accordingly give a legal advice to the buyer to purchase the land or property or not.
The next step will be for the buyer to instruct a Licensed Land Surveyor to prepare a Survey Plan for the property in the name of the new buyer.
Note, the registered Survey Plan must show (a) Location and address (b) Size of the land in Square Meters, (c) Shape of the land and all the registered Beacons numbers on the Survey with Surveyor’s General Signature and Record copy duly lodged at Surveyor’s General office either in State or Federal Level.
- The Solicitor will use the new Survey to prepare one of the following: Contract of Sale, Deed of Sub-lease, or Deed of Mortgage and Deed of Assignment which are different types of evidence of transfer of legal ownership to the new buyer.
- Deed of Assignment to be prepared by the Lawyer must contain the following particulars of information:
- Names, Occupation and Address of Parties usually referred to Assignor (seller) and Assignee (buyer)
- Names and Occupation and Addresses of the Witnesses
- Description of the Property
- Capacity of the Vendor/Assignor
- Consideration i.e. price of the Land
- Quantum of interest to be transferred
- Covenants or terms of the contract of sale
EXECUTION OF AGREEMENT (signing of agreement)
All Parties and Witnesses named in the Agreement must sign. Note, the Assignee (buyer) will hand over the purchase price either in exchange of bank draft or transfer which must be done simultaneously on the same day of signing of the documents
- Delivery of Possession or handing-over of the property to the buyer.
The Assignor will hand-over all the original documents to the Assignee upon confirmation of payment.
- In Lagos, for areas like Ikoyi, Apapa, festac Town & Environs, part of Victoria Island, Gowon Estate, Abesan Estate, Ojodu and other Federal lands in Lagos the usual documents are Federal or State Registered Conveyance before 1978 or Certificate of Occupancy after 1978 which is the same thing as Right of Occupancy.
- If there is an existing Certificate of Occupancy, the document you are going to receive after registration with the Federal or State Government on the signed Deed of Agreement is called Governor’s Consent for State Land; and Minister of Works & Housing Consent for Federal Land which is also known as Certificate Of Occupancy.
IKEJA pROPERTY & other areaS of lagos
All of the above are applicable for Ikeja as well. There is no Gazetted and Excision Land in Ikeja; it must be a Registered Conveyance, Certificate of Occupancy, Deed of Agreement and Purchase Receipt with other relevant documents.
LEKKI LAND or PROPERTY
The same requirements for Ikeja & other areas of Lagos also applicable. The only difference is that Lekki is the only place where you have Gazetted and Excision Lands.
Gazette: Meaning publication of land released to Customary Family Land Owners.
Excision: The titled document given to Customary land owners after released of their formerly acquired land by the Government.
Power of attorney: Is the legal power you give to somebody to act on your behalf in official capacity.
NOTE: A lawyer must be involved in all the transaction on the property to guide and protect you.
HOW TO LAWFULLY REGISTER YOUR LAND OR PROPERTY DOCUMENT
For Real estate law in Nigeria and Lagos in particular, in order to legally register your land or property as prescribed by law, the following processes and document are required to have a lawful land title in respect for the following documents:
- Certificate of Occupancy (+ Right of Occupancy)
- Deed Of Assignment (or Deed of Lease, Deed Of Sublease, or Deed of Mortgage)
- Gazette (with a Record of Excision)
- Governor’s Consent Document
- Power of Attorney
Required Documents to Process all the Above
If there is an existing Certificate of Occupancy, the document to be given to you after registration is called (Governor’s Consent). However, if there was no existing Certificate of Occupancy, you can apply for one.
The Following Documents Will Be Required to Register a New Purchased Land from Federal or State Governments
- The Solicitor will officially apply for Governor’s Consent Registration
- 4 copies of Assignor and Assignee signed Deed of Agreement of the purchased land.
- 2 passport photographs of the Assignee
- 4 copies of registered Survey Plan
- Sketch map of the location, picture of the actual land site.
- Current Tax Clearance of the Assignor
- Tax Clearance of the Assignee and Assignors
- Lagos State or Federal government statutory Charges and Fees
- Professional Fee of the Attorney
- Other Statutory Procedures
In conclusion, since there is no area of law practice in Nigeria that is frequently more litigated or involved disputes, and going by the recent research of cases in Courts relating to land or property around the country, and particularly in a place like commercial city of Lagos with 22 million population, therefore, it is legally advisable for clients to consult the best lawyers or leading law firm in Lagos & Nigeria for proper legal guidance in order to avoid disputes in respect of purchase of land and Property in Nigeria.
In other words, it is pertinent that the client must have a perfect & lawful title to guarantee one’s peace of mind, good tenancy and secured real Estate Asset to raise loan for business or other clients best interest relating to real estate & properties in Nigeria.
For further information on the best real estate law advice and property matters in Nigeria you can contact the law firm for more education on the issue and topic above.
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