PERFECTION OF PROPERTY DOCUMENTS
In acquisition and ownership of land in Nigeria and elsewhere, the most important issue for consideration is the documents available to you to substantiate your claim of ownership to that property. This is because you may have the need to approach banks and other institutions for businesses and in that case you must ensure that your documents are well perfected.
Already discussed in this Network are different ways a person can acquire land in Nigeria for the purpose of business, investment and residency. It is therefore important that we look at the procedures to perfect these documents to ensure security of your property and to bring your property to the standard that financial institutions and government agencies can find it easy to deal with you and your property in terms of business in Nigeria.
These are the various documents that a land/property owner in Nigeria should have depending on how you acquired your property.
- Government allocations: allocation letter, payment receipts, Certificate of Occupancy.
- Estate Development land: Global C of O, All the documents of the family, receipt of payment, Deed of assignment, Allocation documents if the land is acquired directly from the government, layout, survey plan, etc.
- Family/ Individual land:
- Excision certificate (gazette)
- Deed of assignment
- Receipt of payment.
- Survey plan (approved)
- Governor’s consent.
- Certificate f Occupancy C of O
- Power of Attorney
In Family/Individual land, you have to demand for the registered survey covering the land, excision letter/certificate from government, (in case of Lagos state), family partition, survey plan of the particular portion of the family land being sold to you, receipt of payment which must come from the family, deed of assignment. You must ensure that the deed of assignment is signed by the head of the family, family secretary and other principal members representing the family. Note that any sale not signed by the head of family is void. This has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Ekpendu v Erika 1959 47 section 79 and where the family head alienates family land without the consent of other principal members, the sale is voidable – meaning that the sale is not void abinitio but could be voided if challenged – Adejumo v Ayantegbe 1989 3 NWLR (PTHD) 417 at 432 paragraph).
We however advice persons buying land from the family in Nigeria to ensure and insist that the head of the family consents and signs the deed of assignment along with principal members. The purchaser most also investigate and ascertain that those brought to sign are actually the right people to sign. This is very important as it has been a major issue for litigation in family land issues in Nigeria.
Also, if the signatories to the deed are illiterates, a Jurat should be involved. Note however that in some cases it may be difficult identifying the real head of the family and principal members therefore we advice that the purchaser should look for instances where families have given a power of attorney to some recognized members of the family to deal with the land .It would be an advantage if the POA is registered.
POWER OF ATTORNEY: The power of attorney should be signed by the head of family and others and registered with the land registry. Any alienation made pursuit to this POA is valid and does not need the consent/signature of family members again. This has been confirmed in the case of Ojo v Anibiri (2006) 10 NWLR (PT882) 571. It must be noted for emphases here that from our experience, in different jurisdictions in Nigeria, the land ministries of some states of Nigeria may insist on both Power of Attorney, the deed of assignment and other documents before processing your governor’s consent . Note also that in some cases they may require that the POA be signed by both the Donor and the Donee.
A purchaser of land must know that though the law is the same in Nigeria but some states have introduced some variation which may not be discussed here.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF CONSENT ARE AS FOLLOWS:-
For Lagos State :
1) Letter of application with address and telephone numbers of the vendor.
2a) Completed form
- Certified true copies of the granted title document.
- Vendor’s tax clearance certificate
- Vendor’s development levy
- Purchasers tax clearance
- Purchasers development levy
- Four copies of the deed of assignment
- Evidence of payment
- Charting, endorsement & form
- Tenement rate, (for undeveloped land)
- Building plan & development
- Photograph of building/ property.
- The application letter with the above documents will be submitted to the land registry.
- They would be sent to the surveyor general for charting & investigation of the documents, after which they will access and determine the fees to be paid.
These fees are:-Assessment fee, Registration fee, Consent fee, Charting fee, Stamp duty\capital gain tax etc.
- After all these payments, the file would be passed to the governor for consent.
- Note that the consent can only be signed by the governor himself or his delegate. Note that the principle of law that a delegated power can not be delegated (delegatus non potest delegare ) applies here. Meaning that the Governor’s delegated power cannot be delegated to any other officer. This has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Union bank v Ayodare 2007 LPELR – SC.375/2001
Requirements of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for Non State Land
Documents required for Non-State land:
1) Completed Certificate of Occupancy Form with receipt
2) Land Information Certificate with receipt
3) Four original Survey Plan (2 in cloth and 2 in paper)
4) Four Passport Photograph with white background
5) Sketch Map of the Site Location
6) Purchase Receipt Duly Stamped
7) Evidence of payment of Income Tax
8) Current Development Levy. (In case of Company, Two Directors Tax Clearance and Development Levy)
9) Publication Fee
10) Capital Contribution Fee
11) Building Plan Approval if developed
12) Copy of Tenement Rate Receipt (if occupied).
1) Applicant Submits Application and Vital Information Form
2) Compilation of applicants names for publication,
3) Title Search for previous Registration
5) Certificate of Occupancy Engrossment
6) Recommendation for execution of C of O (by ES LUAC, SSA Lands & PS Lands)
7) Execution of C of O (by Governor)
8) Stamp Duty (by Commissioner for Stamp Duties)
9) Registration of C of O (by Land Registry)
10) Collection of executed and registered C of O (by Applicant)
As already stated at the beginning, the process is quite complicated therefore we in PAN advice anyone who intends to perfect his/her title documents for any property in Nigeria for purpose of living or doing business should consult a legal practitioner who is very vast in land/Property transactions or contact Property Advisory Network for assistance.