How To Secure A Property Title In Nigeria

In the darker days when I knew nothing about real estate, I always looked at the “Title” part of property listings as fancy. Now, from my current viewpoint, it’s obvious how important a title is for the security of an asset like land. I mean, you can only imagine working towards acquiring your dream home on a piece of land in one of your choicest parts of Lagos, you come on site for inspection of the ongoing building as usual only for ‘omoniles’ to notify you to cease all building activities, for your darling house is being built on ‘holy ground’. You panic, and put calls through here and there, just to find out that some village elders have come to look for, and lay claims to their late brother’s land/property.

Never want to land in a situation like this (No pun intended)? Let’s find out what all the buzz about titles is about.

What is a Title?

A title is a legal document that espouses an individual’s right to ownership and possession of an item that can be recognized as being owned or belonging to a person or a thing. At a basic level, a title is a document that indicates recognition of ownership.

In Nigeria, the Land Use Act provides that the consent of the Governor is required for any alienation or transfer of interest in real property. In practice, it is after completion of the transfer that consent is processed together with the registration of the deed of transfer.

How are titles properly transferred?

The transfer of title and interests in real property is required by law to be in writing and by deed duly executed by all parties involved. The parties to the transfer contract are required to fill and sign the relevant forms of application for the Governor’s consent in order to alienate all interests in the property along with a formal application for registration of the new interests.

The payments of applicable statutory transaction taxes and transfer fees such as Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty, Consent and Registration fee and other outstanding land charges are required for the registration of the transfer deeds to lawfully vest title in the property to the purchaser.

Real estate title records are duly documented in the Register of Deeds securely kept at the respective Lands Registry Offices in the respective states in Nigeria. The register is an authoritative record of the interests in specific properties. All subsequent transfer of interests in real property are registered in the respective files as a charge and record of the transfer of the title to the purchaser.

Any more consents?

The consent of a partner, joint or co-owner of the interests in real property must also be sought for there to be a valid transfer of the title by a seller. If a spouse is a co-owner on the records of title in real property, they must give their consent for any sale to be valid. If that is not the case, spousal consent is not required.

If the property is owned by a company, the resolution of the members or the directors of the company is necessary for the sale of the property.

All named executors or administrators of an estate of a deceased and upon grant of probate letters by the High Court, must give consent for the transfer transaction to be valid.

Conclusion

Before you do anything, verify that the property you are about to acquire has been legally sorted out with the government of the State to avoid stories that touch. Home is more than just a place; it’s a feeling – and I’m very sure you wouldn’t want that to be taken away from you for lack of proper research.

Real estate just got realer with Bricks & Tierra!