It is common to hear about people who go to court because of one land/property dispute or the other in Nigeria. Often times, it is a case of two individuals claiming rights to a particular property. One of the mistakes people make when making property transactions is not getting the necessary documents that transfer ownership to them. Buying a land or property goes beyond just making payments, there is need have the required documents for property transfer – from the seller to the buyer – in order to avoid unnecessary cases with other people or the government.
Before we go into details of the documents required for property transfer in Nigeria, it is important to imagine these documents as receipts you collect after making purchases like phones, shoes, bags etc. or even the certificate awarded at the completion of your degree. In whatever sizes or shape they come, the main purpose is that they serve as PROOF. It is the same with land/property documents. If you ever get into a property transaction, you definitely need to have proof other than word of mouth.
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Certificate Of Occupancy
The Certificate of Occupancy is the most important land document in Nigeria. It is that which certifies the legal and ownership status of any land in Nigeria irrespective of its usage. It is the document that indicates that an individual as being granted statutory right of occupancy by the Governor of the state where the land is located or a customary right of occupancy by the Local Government Chairman, depending if the land is in a rural area. While the Customary Right of Occupancy is issued by the Local Government Council, the Statutory Right of Occupancy is issued by the State Government.
The Certificate of Occupancy is the document given to an individual which proves ownership of a piece or larger parcel of land as attested by the government in accordance with applicable laws of the state. Over the years, people have to present the Certificate of Occupancy in order to claim a land.
Right of Occupancy (R of O)
The Right of Occupancy often referred to as the “R of O”, was introduced by the Land Use Act. This is another document required by an individual for property transfer in Nigeria. Right of Occupancy as the name depicts, means a particular person has the right to use and occupy a land in accordance with the Land Use Act provisions. This does not in anyway mean they have claims as ownership to the land.
The R of O grant individuals or corporate organization rights over a plot or parcel of land in government approved layouts. The right is usually for a period of time, a maximum of 99 years is granted for residential purposes, while it is between 35 to 70 years for other uses, depending on the value improvements.
Deed Of Assignment
The Deed of Assignment is a very important document required for any property transfer in Nigeria. It must be demanded and given to a buyer after the conclusion of a land or property transaction between the buyer and the seller (property owner) of land or property. A Deed of Assignment is there an agreement between the seller (assignor) and buyer (assignee). It is where the assignor states the details of the transaction with the assignee, which includes his promise to assign the ownership of the property or land from a specific date to the assignee. In the deed, the details of the contract are spelt out: the date when the ownership is transferred from one person to the other, the specific description of the property, location etc.
A Deed of Assignment, therefore, is an agreement where an assignor states his promise that from the date of the assignment or any date stipulated therein, the assignor assigns his ownership in that Land to the assignee.
The deed contains very important information of any real estate transaction. Apart from the Certificate of Occupancy, the deed of assignment is the most recognized document with matters related to land 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 document 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.
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Deed Of Lease
A Deed of Lease is the formal document (contract) entered into for a commercial property by the tenant and landlord after an Agreement to Lease is signed. The deed of lease is always prepared based on the information contained in the Agreement of Lease terms after it has been reached by the landlord and the tenant.
Deed Of Sub-lease
The Deed of Sub-lease is another important document in any property or land transactions. It 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
A mortgage 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. It is the security for loan with an undertaking for repayment and cesser on redemption.
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This is also another important document that helps reveal the true ownership status of a property or land. It allows you to know if the land is under any government acquired or committed area. In cases where the land is without a building, it is important to do thorough research on whether or not the land is not acquired by the government.
Above are some of the important documents required for property transfer in Nigeria. Kindly share your experience as regards property transfer with fellow PropertyPro.ng readers.