When buying a property in Lagos or perhaps anywhere else in Nigeria, it is statutory for the buyer of the property to register the property with the authorities.
The land registration process in Lagos is governed by the provisions of the Land Registration Law of Lagos State (2015) and also the Land Use Act, which is the principal legislation governing the land transactions throughout Nigeria.
It is of supreme importance to take particular measures before the purchase of land, or maybe land with structure during the course of buy and even after the purchase has been created for the benefit of securing one's interest in the said property.
A willing purchaser as a question of importance must check out the name of the actual owner to the stated land and in a number of cases the track record of that vendor to forestall any future legal issues.
Prior to the registration of property in Nigeria, there are various stages to follow when buying a property in Lagos, which shall be briefly talked about below.
INVESTIGATION OF PROPERTY TITLE
The first stage in property transactions is the investigation of the title of the property presented by a vendor.
The Purchaser's solicitor proceeds to carry out an investigation to verify the vendor's name as well as to determine that there are not any defects in the stated name to the property. The investigation involves several searches at various registries where records of properties and encumbrances are actually kept. Searches may be conducted in the following places-
- Search at the Lands Registry - The Land Instrument Registration Law of each State establishes a land registry for the State, in which documents relating to land within the territory are actually maintained, and it varies from one State to another. In Lagos State, such search may be conducted at Land Registry, Alausa Ikeja Lagos in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Law of Lagos State 2015.
- Charting at Surveyor General Office: where any property to be purchased cannot be searched at the land registry to the fact that the property is yet to be registered, the purchaser, through its solicitors, may apply for charting of the land at the Surveyor General Office. The charting will reflect whether the land falls under any government acquisition or not. A land already registered would have ordinarily passed through this process, and there may not be any need to further conduct charting at Surveyor General Office.
- Search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – This is needed where previous owner or the vendor is actually a business incorporated under Companies and Allied Matters Act. Apart from the queries at the land registry, there ought to be an additional search at the CAC to disclose whether or maybe not there is any encumbrance at all on the property.
- Search at Probate Registry - This search is carried out to disclose whether or maybe not probate has been given on any estate as well as to determine the personal representatives or perhaps executors of a testator in situations of a property belonging to the estate of a deceased. Without a grant of probate and/or letters of administration, the vendors don't possess the requisite authority to sell the property of a deceased individual.
- Traditional Evidence – This is accomplished by investigating or maybe verifying from the principal members of a family unit or perhaps from the community and heads of the town in which the property is actually subject to family members or even community ownership. It is essential to confirm that all pertinent consents have been received from appropriate persons before sale.
- Court Registry – This type of search is performed to determine if the landed property was subject to any litigation, and if any, the end result of the dispute; or maybe whether the seller is actually a private representative or perhaps beneficiary in a probate dispute which entitles him to convey the property. It is often necessary where the property was derived by virtue of a court judgement.
- Physical Inspection – This is a private visit to the property in question in order to discover if there is any problem with the property, or perhaps to determine the real dimensions of the land and whether it conforms to the dimensions on the survey at the land survey office.
Besides the above, investigation of real property might have a different turn based on the property type and also the caliber of persons involved in the transaction. For example, due to the latest development of collapsed and collapsing buildings in Lagos State, it is recommended for a property buyer that want to buy high rise structures to request for profiles of the designers of the property, certificate of structural integrity/stability, type of foundation on which the building is actually erected among others.
For properties located in choice areas which cost huge sums of cash, it might not be out of place to conduct an additional due diligence by looking at the profile and history of the vendors via online or media to ascertain such persons and or property are not subject of any investigation. This will prevent the danger of confiscation of the property by any anti-corruption agency. The due diligence process may also reveal whether there is any pending lawsuit in respect of the property to be purchased.
After the purchaser, through his solicitor has ascertained that the seller has a genuine title to the land or property, the next phase is actually the assignment or conveyance of the property to the buyer.
The Deed of Assignment may be prepared by the purchaser's solicitor and vetted by the vendor or maybe the solicitor of the vendor and vetted by the purchaser's solicitor. Then the documents will be executed by parties and their witnesses. At this point some outstanding sum or maybe balance will be paid by the purchaser if only an installment has been paid by the purchaser before.
The next step is for the vendor to submit all original documents relating to the title of the land to the purchaser.
It is crucial that you be aware that the Deed of Assignment is actually to be accompanied with the survey of the property in question as these are needed for the registration of the property, which will be the next stage.
At this stage, the purchaser can take a full possession of the property.
It is compulsory that every deed of assignment contain a consent of the governor of the state in which the land/property sold is actually situated.
Upon the transfer of the property by the seller to the purchaser, the new buyer must register the property with the government to complete the transactions.
Registering properties in Nigeria includes process, which involves obtaining the governor's consent, payment of stamp duties and registration of assignment or conveyance at the Lands Registry of a state. This is required in order to ensure compliance with pertinent statutes and defend the legal validity of the purchaser's name to the property.
APPLICATION FOR GOVERNOR'S CONSENT
The Land Use Act prohibits alienation of statutory right of occupancy without the consent of the Governor. It makes it necessary for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy to seek and get the consent of the Governor of the State in which the land is actually situated before selling or alienation of interest in the land, or else the transaction shall be void.
Therefore, the purchaser should endeavor to ensure that the vendor signs the application letter for consent, since it's the duty of a holder of the right of occupancy to seek consent of the Governor to alienate. A clause may also be included in the contract of sale mandating the vendor to ensure this is signed whenever it is required by the purchaser.
Below are actually the important documents required to attain a Governor's Consent in Lagos State as well as by implication registering a property in Lagos:
- A duly completed application made on Land Form 1C which should be dated and signed by the parties to the transaction and sworn to before a Magistrate or perhaps Notary Public.
- A cover letter from the Solicitor/Applicant filing the application for Governor's consent.
- The charting fee, endorsement fee payable to the Lagos State Government.
- 4 copies of the Deed of Assignment with survey plans connected in each message.
- Photograph of the property.
- A current tax clearance certificate of the parties involved in the property transaction.
The above documents are actually to be forwarded to the office of the Surveyor General for charting. If there are actually no defects in the survey of the property, a thoroughly clean report is actually delivered to the Lands Bureau along with a demand notice is actually given to the applicant for the following costs, which are proportions of the assessed value of the property.:
- Consent fees of 1.5%
- Capital Gains Tax of 0.5%
- Stamp Duty of 0.5%
- Registration fees of 0.5%
At present, the whole practice of getting approval and mastering a title in Lagos State takes at least 3 months to conclude provided all assessment and required fees are actually paid as quickly as one can and there are not any queries or maybe defects in the documents of the applicant. Nevertheless, the State Government has a set goal period of 30days.
Listed below are actually the steps an applicant will have to follow for a land registration process in Lagos State:
- Application & accompanying papers are actually to be obtained at the Land Bureau from the Applicant.
- Application is uniquely referenced for identification function at the Lands Bureau.
- Investigation of the condition of the land through charting will be done with the office of the Surveyor General.
- Assessment of Property to determine appropriate fees by officials of the Lands Bureau.
- Issuance of Demand Notices at the Accounts Office at the Lands Bureau.
- Applicant pays and forwards treasury receipts of payment of charges to the Accounts Department.
- Approval & endorsement of documents by the Commissioner or Governor.
- Stamping of files at the Lands Bureau.
- Registration of files at the Lands Registry.
- Collection of all registered documents by the applicant at the Lands Bureau.
Registration of property title is actually statutory by virtue of Land Use Act 1978 and thereby mandatory.
The registration of property otherwise called perfection of title is the process by which a purchaser informs the government of its interest in particular land.
The documents transferring title of land from one person to another are actually registerable instruments and failure to so register them would render them inadmissible as an evidence of property transfer in any court proceedings.
Originally published by Resolution Law Firm , July 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.