There are certain documents necessary when buying landed properties in Nigeria. These are called land documents and they influence the transfer of title and legal interest in a property. The type of property to be purchase will determine the necessary and required documents. It is important that the buyer carries out due diligence and familiarizes with these documents to avoid acquiring a bad title to the land or falling victim of fraud or deceit. The seller has the obligation of providing some of these documents to effectively validate the transaction.

They include:

  1. Survey plan/layout
  2. Land agreement
  3. Purchase receipt
  4. Certificate of occupancy/ Governor’s consent

Purchase receipt

This is the evidence of due payment of the purchase of the land. It is given to the buyer by the seller in acknowledgment of receipt of payment for the landed property after the sale of the property. It is also required at the point of registration of the land or property at the lands registry.

Land agreement/ Deed of Assignment

There are different types of agreements in a land transaction; contract for sale of land, sale of land agreement, deed of assignment and other types of deeds. While the contract for sale of land and sale of land agreement usually contain list of terms and conditions agreed to by the seller and buyer, the deed of assignment is the final agreement between the buyer and seller that validly transfers legal title.

It permanently transfers ownership of a landed property from the seller (assignor) to the buyer (assignee) subject to perfection. It also traces the origin of the landed property as well as other relevant conveyance deeds.

Survey plan

A survey plan is a land document that shows the location, size and boundaries of a landed property. It is used for search at the office of the Surveyor-General whether the property is under any government acquisition or committed area.

Certificate of Occupancy

Usually called the C of O. This is the most important document to land owners in a land or property transaction. It certifies the legal ownership status of any land in Nigeria irrespective of possession. It verifies the actual owner of any land in question. It is issued by the state government indicating that the owner who has acquired an interest to the land has been granted a statutory right if occupancy by the Governor of a state in accordance with applicable laws. A subsequent purchaser of the land need not obtain a new certificate of occupancy; all that will be required is a deed of assignment with the governor’s consent. Where the land is situated in a rural area, a customary right of occupancy is issued by the local government chairman.

These documents are crucial in land transactions for the purposes of conducting due diligence search, registration of title document and grant of certificate of occupancy.

By Adeola Oyinlade & Co

Note: The content of this article is anticipated to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Adeola Oyinlade & Co provides help and offer advisory to both local and foreign clients on documents needed while buying landed property in Nigeria.

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