Friday, 20 July 2018

STEPS TO TAKE WHEN BUYING LAND IN NIGERIA

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Congratulations!

You’ve taken the first major step and decided to be a landowner!

The next steps are:

1. DETERMINING THE KIND OF LAND YOU WANT

What size of land are you interested in? And in what location? Instruct your agent on what you want. It is advisable to specify you do not want any land under government acquisition.

2. BUDGET

You must also determine your budget. Price of land varies with the location of land. For example, the same plot size in Surulere will not be the same price in Lekki. You should determine how much you are willing to spend in buying land and instruct your agent.

3. INSPECTION

When you or your agent find a possible piece of land that seems to meet your specifications, it is best to do a physical inspection of the site to determine if the property is as described.

4. CONDUCT A SEARCH

When you find the land that meets your specifications, the next step is to conduct a search at the relevant land registry. The search is essential to determine if vendor is the rightful owner of the land, if the title presented is genuine and the property is not under dispute and it is not the subject of any government acquisition. Unfortunately, there have been occasions where property has been sold to an unwitting buyer while the title of the property is still in dispute particularly where the land is family land.

To conduct a search, one usually submits an application letter to the appropriate lands registry accompanied by a sworn affidavit of the status of the applicant and purpose of the search.

5. EXECUTION OF DEED OF ASSIGNMENT/CONVEYANCE

When you are satisfied that the title of the vendor is good, you may now execute the Deed of Assignment. Execution occurs when both parties (buyer and seller) complete and sign the Deed of Assignment and payment is made for the land.

6. CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF TITLE DOCUMENT AND SURVEY PLAN

Your next step is to obtain certified true copies of the vendors title documents and survey plan. You will require these two documents when you apply for the Governors consent.

A clear proof of the identity of the land plot is needed thus the need for the certified true copy of the survey plan as approved by the town planning authority. The survey plan gives the coordinates of the plot and must fit in the official map of the state. It also identifies the boundaries of the property.

To get the CTC’s, you will submit an application letter accompanied with a sworn affidavit stating your purpose at the lands registry.

7. PAYMENT OF CHARTING FEE, ENDORSEMENT FEE AND FORM 1C

In Lagos State, you must pay for charting, endorsement and a Form 1C before applying for Governors consent. The fees are paid at designated banks. A receipt is issued at the registry, together with a paying-in slip to the bank and you pay the fees with a bank draft payable to Lagos State Government.

8. PROCESSING OF GOVERNMENT CONSENT

By virtue of the Land Use Act, all land in each state in the Federation is vested in the Governor of that state whose prior consent is mandatory for the legal validity of any transfers or alienation of interest in landed property.

To obtain the Governors consent, you will require the following documents:
a. Covering letter
b. Completed Form 1C
c. CTC of title documents of assignor (vendor)
d. Current tax clearance certificates of you and the assignor
e. Four copies of the deed of which consent is sought
f. Copy of the approved survey plan
g. Evidence of payment of charting fee, endorsement fee and Form 1C
h. Evidence of payment of land use charge
i. A photograph of the property
j. A copy of the applicant and/or his agent’s identification
Application is made to the Directorate of Land Services.

9. NOTICE AND PAYMENT OF STAMP DUTY, REGISTRATION FEES, CONSENT FEES AND NEIGHBOURHOOD IMPROVEMENT CHARGE

After investigation and assessment of the true value of the property, the applicant will be informed of the amount for the registration fees, consent fees, stamp duty and capital gains tax that should be paid.

Payment of the above fees will made at designated banks by means of certified checks. Receipts will be provided to the applicant who will make copies before submitting the originals to the land registry.

10. OBTAINING TITLE FROM THE LAND SERVICES DEPARTMENT AND STAMPING OF DEED OF ASSIGNMENT

The Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for the State will grant consent on behalf of the Governor by signing on the submitted deed of transfer.

The deeds are then presented for stamping at the Stamp Duties Registry including receipts confirming payment of stamp duty.

11. REGISTRATION OF DEED AND TITLE CONFERRED

The stamped deed will then be filed with the cashier at the Lands Registry with the receipts and paying-in slips evidencing payment attached. A lands officer will be assigned to enter the deed into the registry records.

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AFC Legal Consult
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Magodo, Lagos.

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