7 Land Documents you must check before you buy that land
The demand for landed property increases daily, but only a few land purchasers know what land documents are and their functions. Before carrying out any land-related transaction, you need to know the 7 Land Documents you must check and what they are.
As a landowner, you must have title documents that are important and recognized by different government rules and laws before you can claim ownership.
Many buyers have fallen victim to fake receipts and land documents, resulting in land-related disputes and loss of money. Therefore, before you buy that property, find out if the land is a family property, how legit it is, and the title document it has. You can run a thorough background check yourself or through a real estate consultant or lawyer.
These are the 7 Land Documents you must check in Nigeria before buying land. Some of which are:
- Certificate of Occupancy
- Deed of Assignment
- Deed of Lease
- Deed of Sub-Lease
- Land Certificate
- Survey Plan
Land Documents you must check before buying Land in Nigeria
1. Certificate of Occupancy
It is not news that all lands belong to the Government. A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document issued by the State Government which officially leases any land under the state to the applicant for 99 years. A-C of O is the officially recognized Land Document for demonstrating the Right to a Land.
2. Deed of Assignment/Conveyance
You must note that a deed of Assignment is a land document showing land ownership. It is an essential document that you, as an applicant, must have when completing a land transaction. A Deed of Assignment is an agreement between the seller and buyer of a land/property indicating that the seller has transferred all rights, title, interests, and ownership to the buyer that has just purchased the land.
The Deed of Assignment contains important information for a real estate transaction. It spells out when land ownership passes from one owner to another. The deed also gives a detailed description of the property included in the transfer of ownership.
3. Deed of Lease/Governor’s Consent
A Deed of Lease is otherwise known as the Governor’s Consent. It is another important land document in Nigeria that is acquired with C of O whenever you purchase land. It is a document that allows the Governor and the general public to be aware that the property in question has changed ownership.
The Deed of Lease was used during the mid-70s and 80s after the enactment of the Land Use Act to transfer property, most especially government properties, in Ikoyi, Surulere, Victoria Island axis of Lagos state. Section 22 of the Land Use Act 1978 states that:
“It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained”
A deed of Lease is important to have in possession if you want to sell your property as a Landlord. It also gives the buyer of a land peace of mind.
4. Deed of Sub-Lease
This is another important legal document properly signed and stamped indicating the agreement between a land leaseholder sub-leasing their unexpired lease term to a third party signifying land and landed property.
5. Land Certificate
This is a title document issued by the land registry to the owner of registered land as proof of possession of a piece of land or parcel of land. Before the enactment of the Land Use Act of 1978, it was issued for registered freehold or leasehold lands in Nigeria by a government land registry. The Land Certificate was usually given to landed property owners while the 1959 Property Conveyancing Act was still in use.
6. Survey Plan
This is an important land document that shows the boundary measurement of a parcel of land to give an exact measurement and description of such land. A Survey Plan shows the true ownership status in any land transaction. It also provides evidence if the land is not under any government-acquired or dedicated area.
A survey plan gives detailed information about the land, and you must demand it. It helps you know if the land is for residential, commercial, agricultural, or industrial purposes.
The surveyors are always in charge of survey issues and are governed by the Surveyor-General office of the state where such property is located.
The following information makes the Survey Plan genuine:
- The name of the owner of the surveyed land.
- The Address or description of the surveyed land.
- The size of the surveyed land.
- The drawn-out portion of the land survey and mapped out on the survey plan document.
- The beacon numbers.
- The surveyor who drew up the survey plan and the date it was drawn up.
- A stamp showing the land is either free from Government acquisition or not.
People often make the mistake of thinking a receipt is the same as a deed of Assignment. They are different. It is a document indicating or serving as evidence that a land seller receives the due amount of money they intend to sell the land.