What is Joint Ownership of Land? Study This Before Paying for That Land!!

Jan 29, 2024


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What is Joint Ownership of Land? Study This Before Paying for That Land!!

If you've ever tried to buy land, you'll know that it can be expensive. However, you may not need to spend all your money buying it; you just need to pay a percentage. In this guide, we explore one of the ways you can save costs when trying to get on the property ladder: JOINT OWNERSHIP

What is Joint Ownership?

Joint ownership of land means sharing the burden of the cost of a property as well as the ownership, management, and usage of the said property with the other contributor.

You can buy land or any other property by sharing the cost with another person. The amount that each party contributes determines their ownership interest in the property.

Joint ownership means two people partnering to buy and own land. The joint owners share management rights over the land. This means that if that land were to be sold at a later date after the purchase, all parties with vested interests must agree to it and any other terms of the proposed sale.

Who cannot be part of a joint ownership?

Any two parties or more can come together to jointly own land. It does not matter whether they are related or not. If they are related, the process may be easier, especially if they are applying for a mortgage to get the land.

This means that a legally married spouse can jointly own land, as can any combination of a nuclear family unit. People who are not directly related to each other can also attempt to buy land together.

How Can Joint Ownership Play Out in My Mortgage Application?

If you are applying for a mortgage with your spouse, you can share the deposit by having a joint bank account. But, when it comes to someone who is unrelated, you may not be allowed to do that.

We spoke to a practicing mortgage professional, who, for sake of anonymity, declined to use his name in this article. He said, "For couples, that may be allowed. But there is no evidence of two unrelated people sharing a deposit. What they may do is have one party handle the deposit and the other come in during the mortgage repayments."

Can I sell my jointly owned land if there is a divorce?

Unless it is categorically stated in the divorce settlement that ownership of the land has been transferred to you, you cannot sell it off on your own. You must get the consent of the other person, or anybody to whom they have assigned the power of attorney for their stake in the property.

What is a power of attorney?

This is a legal document giving someone rights over the estate of another person. This usually occurs when the original owner is deceased and has left a will.

What are the legal implications of joint land ownership?

According to Resolution Law NG, there are a number of legal implications when trying to jointly own a property with another person. They include:

There is a unity of possession, title, and interest in the land. This means that both owners can enjoy the property together for the same defined period of time. One party cannot claim outright ownership over the other.

The remaining owners will continue to own the property in the event of the death of one party. This means that the children of the late party cannot lay claim to the property. When two people who are not married to one another own the property, this is what happens.

Before one party can lose interest in the jointly owned property, the consent of all parties must be obtained. If it is sold without express permission from any party, the titles assigned to any purchaser are void.

What types of joint ownership of land are there?

In Nigeria, there are some commonly practiced joint ownership types. They include:

a. Joint Tenancy

Here, all tenants have equal rights to the property at the same time. This means that there is no language that terminates the rights to occupancy of that land. This is because there is unity of interest, time, and possession.

The implication is that one party cannot abandon his interest without the approval of other parties. This also means that in the event of the demise of one party, the remaining vested interests assume ownership of the property. Any survivor of the deceased cannot also lay claim to the property.

b. Tenancy-in-Common

In this practice, there is language of separation and severance of interests in the jointly owned property. The parties have unequal rights of interest here.

This means that when one party dies, his survivors may lay claim to the property.

Is it the same as Joint Venture?

No. They are two different things. A joint venture is a practice where two or more people buy and develop land with the intention of generating sharable interests in it.

For example, party A may own the land while party B develops it. In the event of the sale or rent of the property, both parties gain dividends from their investments.

Usually, one party may be required to buy into the partnership. This means that they pay a one-off fee to the initiator and then gain a determined percentage of any interest generated on the property.


Omonile Lawyer gives a case study of a client who contracted them to verify land around Badore in Ajah, Lagos State. After study of the document provided by the petitioner, it was discovered that the document was issued in the name of a legally married couple, but only one of the married couple had consented to the sale of the land.

When the approving party was requested to provide consent from the spouse, the request was rejected.

The party then stated that the spouse was late, but there were still requirements to be satisfied in the event of the demise of a joint ownership partner who was married to a surviving partner.

If two persons in joint ownership are married to each other and one is dead, then the following documents must be provided:

a. Death certificate
b. Sworn affidavit before a court of competent jurisdiction stating that the surviving party now has sole rights to the property
c. Other related documents


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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.

What is Joint Ownership of Land? Study This Before Paying for That Land!!

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