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How to Purchase Land or Property in Lagos, Nigeria

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3. BEFORE YOU PURCHASE THAT LAGOS PROPERTY…..



3.1. Acquisition of land and its documentation involves a number of procedures that call for due diligence and caution on the part of the purchaser. Retaining the services of a good professional could help get through these procedures in the best interest of the Purchaser.



3.2. The Purchaser’s lawyer will usually carry out the investigations of title of the Vendor and all other processes prior to the purchase of the land (payment of the purchase sum).



3.3. The primary objective at this stage is to ascertain that the Vendor has a good root of title. A good root of title in this context means the following:



3.3.1. that the Vendor is the rightful (beneficial) owner of the land.



3.3.2. that the land is free from any encumbrance or pending litigation.



3.3.3. that the land is not the subject of any Government acquisition.



3.3.4. that the land is not subject to any of the overriding interests in land (e.g. short leases, easements, licenses, road or right of way).



3.3.5. that the Vendors are acting in good faith (for instance where the land is family owned land)



3.4 Investigation of title is carried out at the Lands Registry or New Towns Development Authority (whichever is applicable) by the Purchaser’s Solicitor shortly after inspection and expression of interest in the land using copies of the key title documents, evidence of payment of levies, approved building plans, survey plans, excision plans, etc. Sometimes investigations may include visiting the neighbours to the property and making direct enquiries in respect of the land n question.



3.5 If the property falls within the Excision Area (i.e. areas exempted from Government acquisition such as Ajah and its environs), the investigation will include the verification of the red copy of the “Excision Plan of the Layout” where property is situated. The Excision Plan itself is a vital document and a prerequisite for Registration of Title to property at the Lands Registry. Very often, an area covered by an excision plan will also be published in the Government Gazette for the avoidance of doubt.



3.6 It is always prudent to verify the Excision Plan by re-confirming the survey beacons around the land. Where there is no Excision Plan, an application for the approval and registration of one will have to be made to the State Government in the prescribed form by the original title holder/ beneficiary of the Government Excision. The process is usually an expensive procedure depending on the size of the property and the valuation of the property.



 



Compiled by Sola Adun (sola@ngex.com)







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