Documents to have after buying a House in Nigeria: Shelter is one of the primary needs of man. A house provides shelter for man, hence the reason it’s difficult to do without a house. This article seeks to pass vital information to readers on how to acquire a house in Nigeria, as well as the important title documents which you must rightfully possess after acquiring a house in Nigeria.
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WHAT IS A HOUSE?
The 8th edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines a house as a building for people to live in.
From the above definition, we understand that a house is a building where a person or more than one person could live in. Often times, people rather rent than build a house. In a situation you choose to rent a house, you need to be in possession of the tenancy agreement between you and the landlord, your receipt of payment of the required rent fee, and the deed of lease.
However, where you decide to acquire a house, you can acquire it either through buying a land and building on it or just buying an already constructed or furnished house. Let’s consider these two methods of acquiring a house.
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ACQUIRING A LAND
Land is an area of ground used for a particular purpose, which may be the construction of a house. The following are the steps to acquire a land in Nigeria:
a. You should conduct a search for the type of land you wish to acquire. This could be easily done through giving your description to land or real estate agents.
b. Where such land or real estate agent finds a land that meets your description, you are required to do a physical inspection of the land to ensure it truly compiles with your description.
c. Where that land compiles with your description, you should conduct a search to checkmate the availability of that land, and whether indeed the vendor has a good title to pass that land to you
d. Where you are satisfied that the vendor is the rightful owner of the land, and has a good title to the land, you may now pay for the land, execute the deed of assignment, obtain certified true copies of title documents to the land, and survey plan which will you help you in getting the consent of the governor.
e. You are also required to pay the required registration fee, consent fee, stamp duty, and capital gain tax to the land registry.
DOCUMENTS TO HAVE AFTER ACQUIRING A LAND
While there may a variety in the procedure of acquiring a land and the documents required. The following are the universal documents which anyone acquiring or who have acquired a land in Nigeria must possess.
a. Land purchase receipt: This is your receipt of payment for the parcel of land.
b. Deed of Assignment: The deed of assignment is an agreement between the seller and buyer which shows that the seller has transferred all his rights, title interest, and ownership of the land to the buyer.
c. Deed of lease: The deed of lease is a document that let the Governor and general public know that the land in question has changed hands for a particular period of time.
d. Approved survey plan: Lands in a state are usually surveyed by a certified surveyor whose survey plan will be submitted to the Government for approval. Hence, it is very important you have in possession the survey plan of the house, as it will be needed when you want to formally register your land.
e. Paper of allocation: The paper or letter of allocation is a letter informing you that the parcel of land you have purchased has been approved and allocated to you by the Government.
f. Irrevocable power of attorney: The power of Attorney is a document used to delegate powers from the land owner to his agent empowering him to validly sell the land, and prepare a deed of transfer and alienation in the favour of the buyer. This irrevocable power of attorney is also very important in the documentation and processes to perfect your land transaction in the land registry.
g. Excision document: It is a document verified from the ministry of Lands which shows that a land has been released by the Government to an individual. Once the land is deemed free, it is given a Gazette title and the owner can then proceed to get proper title like the Certificate of Occupancy otherwise known as C of O.
h. C of O: The certificate of occupancy which is widely referred to as the C of O is one of the most important land documents. It certifies the Legal and ownership status of any land in Nigeria, and it indicates that an individual has been granted the right of occupancy by the Governor of the state.
In addition to the C of O, there is another similar title document which is the Right of Occupancy otherwise known as R of O. However, unlike the C of O, the R of O is granted by the local government to a person to lawfully use the land in accordance with customary laws.
I. Governor’s Consent: Generally, it is unlawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his rights of occupancy or any apart thereof by assignment, mortgage, or transfer of possession to another without the consent of the Governor first being obtained. Thus, if I want to acquire a land along with other title documents, I need to obtain the consent of the Governor.
How do I obtain the consent of the Governor?
To obtain the consent of the Governor in Nigeria, you need to fill the form 1c which must be signed in the presence of a lawyer who will guide you, and ensure you avoid the slightest error.
Secondly, your lawyer should prepare a deed of assignment which should include the parties to the transaction, cost of the land, description of the land, size of the land, copy of the survey attached to it, and signature of all the parties and witnesses to the transaction.
BUYING A HOUSE IN NIGERIA
As stated earlier, buying a house directly is the second method of acquiring a house in Nigeria. To buy a house, one must search for the type of house he wants, and where the person finds a house that meets his description, such person should:
1. Demand and collect all relevant title documents from the seller
2. Engage a Lawyer to investigate the title of the seller to sell the house
3. Conduct a search at the land registry and investigate the property’s title
4. Pay all the required fee for the house after you are satisfied that the title of the property is genuine and the seller is authorized to sell it.
5. After payment and acquisition of the property, you should go ahead to perfect the title of the property with the relevant land registry.
After fulfilling these steps, such person is said to have bought a house and after buying a house in Nigeria, the following documents are required to be in the possession of the new owner of the house:
DOCUMENTS TO POSSESS AFTER BUYING A HOUSE
a. Approved Survey Plan:
The Survey plan is a crucial document which reveals the actual location of the house you purchased and whether such house is under any Government acquired area.
The Survey plan further aids to reveal the ownership status of the house.
b. Deed of Assignment:
Deed of Assignment is a document used to transfer interest in a house from one person to another. Thus, after purchasing a house you must have in possession the deed of Assignment which shows that the owner rightfully transferred his interest and everything in the house to you.
c. Contract of Sale:
After purchasing a house, it is important to keep the details of the contract of sale of that house to you, as well as your receipt of payment for the purchase of the house.
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d. Probate and Letter of Administration:
A probate and letter of administration is an essential document in the purchase of a house whose owner is dead, as generally documents of that house owned by the deceased will become invalid after his or her death to convey title to you. So therefore the grant of probate and letter of administration will become the document which serves as a Legal title in respect of that house owned by the deceased person.
e. Power of Attorney:
The Power of Attorney is an instrument of delegation required where a person is acting for another person. Thus, where you directly purchase a house from an agent acting for the owner of the house, you must have the document of Power of Attorney which shows that indeed the owner authorized that particular agent or person to sell the house to you on his behalf.
f. Certificate of Occupancy:
Certificate of Occupancy otherwise known as C of O is an important title document which certifies the legal ownership status of any land, property, or house in Nigeria.
g. Governor’s Consent:
The consent of the Governor is required under the Nigerian law in any transaction involving the transfer of any property or interest in property. Hence after purchasing the house, you need to obtain the consent of the Governor.
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Conclusively, I must emphasize that while the documents required for the possession of a house May slightly differ in various communities in Nigeria, it is important that you consult or employ the services of a lawyer before you purchase any house; so as to avoid making mistake of any sort. Also you should demand and acquire all the title documents to the house, this way you can now be the bonifade owner of the house.