8 Important Land Titles and Documents You Should Know

Jan 01, 2024


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8 Important Land Titles and Documents You Should Know

Buying a house successfully can be stressful. It shouldn't be, but there are always complicated processes involved, and sometimes this leads to prolonged or failed buying. This guide exposes you to one of the most important aspects of buying a property: the documentation.

  • Land Titles

1. Certificate of Occupacy

This is the most known of all titles and documents. Every home seller you may have met has declared having a C of O on their property. Though it is not the only title, you need to get a house, it is as important as any.

In order to confer or transfer ownership rights or rights of occupancy of land or property to another person or corporate body, the state government issues a Certificate of Occupancy.

A C of O is issued once and prevents multiple claims to land or property.

It is important to note that the C of O is valid up to a period of 99 years, and balances are transferrable on sale. This implies that when a house, for instance, has 20 years left on its C of O's validity, the new owner must renew the C of O after 20 years.

2. Governor's Consent

The land belongs to the government. When land with C of O is transferred from an original owner to a new one, there is a need to obtain a Governor's Consent. This refers to the approval of the governor of any of the 36 states of the Federation on a transfer of land from one party to another.

A Governor's Consent is a title that gives the owner of a house permission to transfer the Certificate of Occupancy of said house to a new owner. Two persons cannot have a C of O for a particular property, and because the governor gave his permission to the original owner when they got their C of O, he must also give permission when it changes hands.

So, by applying for the Governor's Consent, you are officially telling the government that the land is moving to a new owner.

The Attoney General can be empowered to sign on behalf of the state governor.

3. Freehold Title

This title is one that gives the owner complete ownership and control over land or property. There is usually no expiration date to it, and holding it means you are not likely to face legal challenges from either the government or any other person.

  • Land Documents

1. Receipt

A receipt is a document that shows that a seller has received a specified amount of money from a buyer for land or property.

Make sure to ask for a receipt when you have made a payment on the property. This is to avoid confusion in the future. Without a receipt, you cannot prove that you have paid for the land.

2. Deed of Assignment

A Deed of Assignment is a document that transfers ownership rights to a property from one person to another. Both parties are known as the assignor and the assignee.

This title shows that the seller and buyer of a property have agreed that all necessary documents have exchanged hands and that the seller is duely assigned the said property.

3. Deed of Conveyance

A deed binds a person to an act or a covenant.

When selling a house, a Deed of Conveyancing may be sufficient evidence to claim ownership of the land or property.

Though similar to, or interchangeable with, a deed of assignment, his title is often only referred to as a deed of conveyance in states that are subject to the Conveyancing Act. This includes Rivers State, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, Enugu, and Anambra States, as well as all states in Northern Nigeria.

What's the difference between Deed of Conveyance and Deed of Assignment?

The major difference is in the fact that only states that are bound by the Conveyancing Act use Deed of Conveyance. This is evidenced by the fact that the sample of the Deed of Conveyance above is for Rivers State.

4. Survey Plan

A survey plan has the exact measurements of a land and shows other important things such as beacon numbers, coordinates, shape, and address of the land.

Beware of fake land survey plans. We have a 9-point guide on how to detect fake survey plans. Fake surveyors and Omoniles, also known as local landowners, have been known to peddle fake survey plans.

Once you have received a copy of a survey plan, you can take it to the Surveyor-General's office to know if the Red Copy is there. This confirms the authenticity of the survey plan.

  • Publications

1. Excision and Gazette
A government gazette is a land title that demonstrates that the state government has returned land to its original owners. The process of "giving back" land is known as excision.

Omoniles and fake title peddlers often attempt to sell lands that have not been excised. If you do not know what this means, then you may fall prey to their deceit.

Land excision is a process by which the government gives land back to a community or group that originally owned it.

The original owners of the land may submit an application for an excision if someone wants to purchase it.

After this process is done, it is recorded in the government's official whitepaper, known as a gazette.

With this Gazette, the original owner is able to issue a buyer a CofO or a Governor's Consent. Also, make sure you view the Gazette before paying for a property survey to be carried out on the property. This is where Omoniles come in. They make you believe the land has been excised with the intention of deceiving.

The Gazette and Excision go hand in hand. With the former, you find more information about the "original owners," the exact size of the land, and the purpose of the land.

Other land documents include:




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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zerodip accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided. Graphics and images used here are for information purposes - we do not have ownership right over them.

8 Important Land Titles and Documents You Should Know

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