A landed property without title documents is as good as non-existent. Knowing the title documents to watch out for when buying a parcel of land or landed property is a good step for getting value for your hard-earned money. In this article, we will detail much you should know about landed property title documents in the following sequence:
Everyone interested in real estate has come across the word ‘excision’, but only a few persons know its meaning. The importance of this title document (excision) should never be underestimated as it is what determines whether a parcel of land is under government ownership or control (acquisition).
Peripheral knowledge of excision do not suffice because it doesn’t give a clear picture of it’s relevance in the real estate industry. Hence, we will provide you with all you need to know about it so that you will be properly guided in your real estate investment decision.
Prior to 1978, land was owned by the locals of each community. However, from 28th March, 1978, the Land Use Decree was established to vest land under the control of governors. That is, all land are now owned by the state to provide infrastructure and amenities for the general good of all.
Provision was made for the locals to own part of the land because they cannot exist in a vacuum. Such provision is called excision. Therefore, a parcel of land is excised when the government approves an application for its release for private ownership and use.
How to Apply for Excision
The community or family head, real estate developer or their representatives sends an application for excision to the Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC) on their letter-head paper. The content of the application must include – location to be excised, historical background of the community, number of residents, proposed usage, justification for it’s usage, perimeter survey etc.
At the receipt of the application for excision, the LUAC sends it to the Technical Committee for processing.
Thereafter, the perimeter survey will be sent to the Surveyor General to check if the parcel of land to be excised fall under a committed area (land set aside for amenities) or not. It will be denied if it falls in a committed area.
Based on his findings, the Surveyor General will advice the Technical Committee who will then proceed to the location for inspection and verification of facts contained in the application in comparison to the master plan for the community.
The Technical Committee will send feedback to the LAUC when it is done with the inspection.
Based on feedback received from the Technical Committee, the LUAC will make recommendation to the governor to approve or reject the excision.
At excision, the perimeter survey and description of the parcel of land will be prepared by the office of the Surveyor General. And a layout plan drawn by the applicants’ town planner will be sent to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development for approval.
The applicants and government will then make an agreement that the former will pay for any encroachment by them or their representatives on the excised community jut.
The excised portion will be published in the state official (land) gazette. The gazette will also be published in a prominent newspaper.
A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued to the applicants.
Buying a Parcel of Land without Excision
The major benefit of parcels of land that lack excision or with excision in process is cheap cost because the developer uses your money to process the excision. But you really need to know the implications, some of which are:-
The filing for excision doesn’t assure its approval.
Usually, not all the acres or hectares applied for are excised. So, if you were allocated the unapproved portion by a Trusted Developer, you will be reallocated to another location where the developer has land irrespective of its conflict with your choice-area. Otherwise, you are on your own.
Therefore, we encourage the purchase of already excised land.
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This document is one of the most important landed property title documents to keep an eye on when buying real estate in Nigeria. In simple term, it is the publishing of the record kept on an excision. Put simpler, a land gazette is a periodic publication showing the allocation or distribution of land between families, communities and the government itself. It indicates the area, number of acres or hectares, coordinates of land excisedand those acquired by the government.
For the purpose of statutory and non-statutory public notice, a gazette is published to give assurance to the buyer of real estate and back legal processes where the need arises. To verify a gazette, a copy of the chart drawn by a surveyor will be taken to the office of the Surveyor-General to check if the parcel of land falls under the excised area.
A Deed of Assignment is a title document that indicates the transfer of ownership, rights or interest of a landed property from an assignor, transferor or seller to an assignee, transferee or buyer. It ensures the transaction between the buyer and seller is irrevocable by their personal and legal representatives or successors-in-title.
A Deed of Assignment clearly states the date, history, description and terms and conditions under which ownership of the landed property is being transferred between the buyer and seller to avoid vagueness and assumption.
It nullifies all unknown or hidden titles of a property and transfers the ownership of all its previous documents to the buyer to prevent duplicate sales. At the end of the transaction, this document is recorded in the land registry for legal prove and public notice.
You can download a good format of a Deed of Assignment here.
The Power of Attorney is an authority given to someone/donor to legally empower him to act in another person/donee’s stead. Such power is given out because the principal is busy or inexperienced enough to act in the required capacity.
The Power of Attorney is assigned to a real estate manager, agent or legal practitioner to act on behalf of a buyer or seller in his desire to buy landed property. Thus, a Power of Attorney is a document that must be verified to ensure that the acclaimed donee is not a fraud star.
A Power of Attorney can be general or special. A Power of Attorney is general when the Donee has full power act on the object of interest while a specific Power of Attorney limits the powers of the Donee to specific aspects of the interest.
You can download a good format of a Deed of Assignment here.
A Contract for Sale is an unambiguously written and signed agreement between a buyer and a seller of real estate stating all the terms under which the title, interest or ownership of a landed property is transferred to the buyer.
Generally, contract of sale of land is useful when the payment for the property is made installmentally. When all financial and non-financial terms and conditions of the contract is met, the title of the property will be transferred to the buyer.
Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the contract in full implies that the buyer forfeits his deposits, installments and title/ownership to the property. So it is important to have a lawyer or real estate expert explain the implications of the contract before accepting or signing it.
The existence of a Contract of Sale of a property prevents the binding seller from selling the property of interest to another buyer. It also requires the seller to avoid all actions that could subject it to any form of encumbrances.
A Contract for Sale must not contradict any landed property law of the land otherwise it will be null and void. Most real estate transactions by Omo-Onile in Nigeria often ignore the Contract for Sale of land. They mainly use the Deed of Assignment. However, where the Contract of Sale is used, it precedes the Deed of Assignment.
A receipt is a well-known transaction document that indicates that financial value has exchanged hands for goods or services of interest. It is an evidence that cash has exchanged hands. It is also used in landed property transactions to show the date of transaction, location of property of interest, amount paid and address of seller.
If the property is bought from the omoniles, the receipt will be signed by the family head and one or more members of the family. I.e. it should be signed by not less than 2 members of the family. However, where the property was bought from an individual, real estate investor or developer, a single signatory will suffice.
A survey plan is a title that gives the most precise location, size, year of survey, layout, beacon number, plan number, boundaries etc. of a parcel of land through their coordinates. This is because no 2 parcels of land can have same coordinates.
This title thus makes it extremely easy for the buyer of a parcel of land to conduct a search at the appropriate survey ministry or agency to discover the true owner of the land and know if it has any form of encumbrances. It also reveals if the land is under government acquisition.