Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

Certificate of Occupancy jpg

According to the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, a Certificate of Occupancy is a land title issued by the government to show that a landowner has the right to occupy and use the said piece of land under certain terms of the contract.

By law (the Land Use Act 1978), all land in Nigeria belongs to the government. Through the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, the government confers on the holder of the land the right to occupy it for 99 years. The document describes whether or not the holder can use the property for residential, commercial, or mixed development.

Certificate of Occupancy is one of the most important land documents because it legally confers an exclusive right of ownership on their holders. Thus, it can be used to resolve land disputes and prevent the government from repossessing the said land.

In a situation where the government decides to use its overriding control to recover a property that has a Certificate of Occupancy, it will duly compensate the holder. A Certificate of Occupancy can also be used as collateral in the bank.

ALSO READ: 5 Reasons Why You May Not Own A House In Your LifeTime

Procedure for Obtaining Certificate of Occupancy

  1. You have to verify that the landed property in question is not under government acquisition;
  2. You have to purchase and submit the application pack to the Land Use Allocation Committee. At submission, you will collect an acknowledgement slip.
  3. You will submit the application pack with the following documents:
    1. Land Information Certificate,
    2. Land Information Fee receipt,
    3. Receipt for the application form,
    4. Fee for publication/inspection,
    5. Land purchase receipt and agreement,
    6. Current Tax Clearance Certificate,
    7. Development levy receipt,
    8. Sketch of site location,
    9. 4 copies of white-background passport photograph of the Applicant,
    10. Approved Building Plan (for buildings),
    11. Tenement Rate Receipt or Land Used Charge (for occupied buildings),
    12. A written cover letter Addressed to the Executive Secretary of the Land Use and Allocation Committee.
  4. The applicant will be required to make payment for the allocated land within 90 days.
  5. Within the application period, it will be advertised to attract objection if the property is owned by someone other than the applicant.
  6. The applicant will be issued a confirmation letter that has a plot and block number.
  7. Scheme Officer processes the application, signs on the form, and forwards it to the executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee.
  8. The Surveyor General provides the Scheme Officer with a digitized survey.
ALSO READ: Excision 
  1. A letter of allocation will be issued by the executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee when the process is approved.
  2. The executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee will sign the file and send it to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands.
  3. The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands will vets the entire file and send it with a covering memo to the Permanent Secretary of Land Bureau.
  4. A message will be relayed back by notification if the file has an issue. If there’s no query on the file, the Permanent Secretary signs the memo and sends the file to the Governor.
  5. A message will also be relayed back by notification if the file has a query. Otherwise, it will be approved by the Governor. The Governor will then electronically sign the Certificate of Occupancy and send the file to the Deputy Registrar for further processing.
  6. The Deputy Registrar signs and forwards the file to the Registrar when he is done with his part of the process. The Registrar then registers the Certificate of Occupancy, signs it, and requests for its printing.


Must Read: Free Insight on 8 Important Landed Property Title Documents

Let’s get your questions and comments in the comment box.


Donald Karo

Most Experienced Property Consultant/Agent In Nigeria


Leave a Comment