Overview of Land Documents in Lagos Nigeria

Overview of Land Documents in Lagos Nigeria

….By Olusola John Jegede, Esq

There are various land documents that are used to establish, transfer, and convey land or ownership rights in Lagos, Nigeria. These documents are important for ensuring the land transactions are conducted legally and that the right of a buyer is secured. There is no uniform document for all lands in Nigeria, the document required to prove title of one property may vary from another depending on the nature of ownership of the property.


The following are some of the commonly used land documents in Lagos Nigeria:

1. CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY (C OF O): This is a legal document issued by the government to indicate that the holder has the legal right to own and use a particular parcel of land for a specified period of time. The C of O is issued by the State Government of the State where the land is located. A purchaser of a parcel of land covered by a C of O is not required to apply for another one, he is only required to register a deed of assignment with governor’s consent.

2. DEED OF ASSIGNMENT: This is a legal document that transfers ownership rights from the current owner (assignor) to the new owner (assignee). A deed of assignment is usually drafted by a legal practitioner and is registered at the Land Registry.

3. DEED OF GIFT: This is a legal document used to transfer ownership rights from one person (Donor) to another (Donee) without any monetary consideration. It is often used in cases where a parent wants to gift a piece of land to a child, relative or any other person. It can be used to transfer ownership of a parcel of land permanently to another person.

4. POWER OF ATTORNEY: This is a legal document that authorizes a person to act on behalf of another person in matters relating to land transactions. It is often used where the owner of a parcel of land is unable to act by himself in a property transaction. A power of Attorney may or may not be by Deed.

5. SURVEY PLAN: This is a document that shows the exact measurements and boundaries of a piece of land. It is used in cases where a land transaction is being carried out. A survey plan is usually drawn by a Registered Surveyor and it is usually attached to a Deed of Assignment or Conveyance.

6. CONTRACT OF SALE OF LAND: The contract of sale of land is used by parties to agree on some terms before the final stage of the Land transaction is reached. It is relevant when any property is to be purchased by anyone. The preparation of a Contact of Sale of Land usually precedes the preparation of the Deed of Assignment. It is not a registrable instrument and must be accompanied with other title/land documents on the property.

7. DEED OF MORTGAGE: A Deed of mortgage is a document used in Mortgage transactions. It is used in mortgage transactions to show that land or property has been transferred from the mortgagor (borrower) to the mortgagee (lender). It is a temporary transfer in that, once the loan amount and the interest accrued have been fully paid; the mortgagor shall be entitled to retrieve his property back from the lender.

8. GRANT OF PROBATE: A grant of probate is a document derived after proving the will of a deceased person through inheritance in the probate registry. It is usually granted to persons (executors) mentioned in a Will. The document vests all the assets contained in the will onto the executors of the estate, who are sometimes the recognized legal owners of the property in law and have powers to transfer or deal with the land/property of the deceased person. Generally, executors are trustees to the beneficiaries named in a Will. After the owner of any property has become deceased, all the land documents of such person are no longer valid to transfer any interest in the assets left behind by him or her. The Probate will now be the only recognized legal document to prove the title to such property.

9. LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION: A letter of administration is similar to a grant of Probate. It vests the property left behind by a deceased person on the administrators of a specific estate. It is usually granted to the personal representatives of a deceased person where the deceased left no will before his death or where the Will did not provide executors or where the Will has become invalid for any reason

10. ASSENT: An Assent is a legal document used to vest an interest in a specific estate onto the beneficiaries of an estate or any third-party buyer by the executors or the administrators of the estate. It is always accompanied by a copy of a grant of probate or letter of administration. An assent may also be by way of Deed.

11. JUDGEMENT OF COURT: The judgment of a court is another essential document which may affect or transfer an interest in a specific property from one person to another. In Nigeria, the legal interests in several properties have been transferred from one person to another through the decisions of various courts. When property ownership has been derived through litigation or any property has been subjected to a lawsuit, it is essential to examine the full decision of the court in respect of such property by obtaining a certified true copy of the judgement.

Finally, buying a property in Lagos, Nigeria is a process that requires the services of an experienced real estate lawyer to navigate. It is advisable that a legal practitioner is engaged to conduct a land search and due diligence before a property transaction is consummated.

By Olusola John Jegede, Esq. Partner at Resolution Law Firm
Email: info@resolutionlawng.com

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