Full List of Land Documents in Nigeria

Have you ever wondered what documents are required to buy, sell or prove ownership of land in Nigeria?

With various types of lands – private, communal and state lands – ownership and transfer processes can be confusing for an average citizen.

land documents in Nigeria

Land speculation has also led to dubious practices and fraudulent title documents, causing legal issues and disputes between people.

So what are the authentic documents needed to execute legitimate land and property transactions in Nigeria?

There exists a wide range comprising title documents that confer ownership, survey documents that demarcate boundaries, family agreements that divide ancestral land, regulatory approvals for development, and more.

Understanding this comprehensive documentation process is essential whether you want to sell your land, secure a mortgage, confirm valid title before purchase, sublet your commercial property, determine inherited property shares, or execute any activity involving Nigerian land.

This guide will provide a simplified overview of over thirty key documents mandatory for easy and smooth land buying and avoiding future disputes.

Read on to have all your questions answered on land registration documents in Nigeria!

FULL LIST OF LAND DOCUMENTS IN NIGERIA

Land ownership and transactions in Nigeria require various documents to prove title and conduct transfers. Here is a comprehensive list of the main land documents used in Nigeria:

TITLE DOCUMENTS

These core documents establish ownership and title to a piece of land:

  • Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): This is an important document issued by state governments as the main legal proof of land ownership. It contains details like the location, size, current owner etc.
  • Deed of Assignment: This document is used to transfer full ownership and title from one party to another through sale, gift or inheritance. It must be duly executed and registered.
  • Deed of Sublease: Used for temporary transfer of interests in a property, for example leasing a property for business purposes. Details sub-lease terms and conditions.
  • Deed of Mortgage: This document is used by banks and financial institutions when providing a mortgage loan for purchase of the property. Gives them right to foreclose on the property if loan obligations are not met.

SURVEY DOCUMENTS

These documents precisely map out land parcels and boundaries:

  • Survey Plan: The survey plan is produced by licensed surveyors, it maps out the boundaries and measurements of a land parcel using coordinates and beacons. Required for C of O application.
  • Beacon Numbers: These are unique sequence of numbers assigned to demarcate land boundaries on the ground, as mapped by the survey plan.

VERIFICATION & APPROVAL DOCUMENTS

Various government agencies verify proper title and approve land transactions:

  • Governors Consent: Required for legal completion of land transfers in some states. Conveys governor’s approval of the transaction.
  • Land Ratification/Verification: This document states land registry verifies all documents are genuine before land transfers and title changes are approved.
  • Tax Clearance Certificate: This document is obtained from State & Local government tax authorities. It proves all taxes on the land are settled.

FAMILY & INHERITANCE DOCUMENTS

These include:

  • Family Land Agreement: Made between family/community members owning a shared piece of ancestral land, to determine individual portions.
  • Will: This is a common document used to transfer private family land to descendants or other beneficiaries upon death of the owner.
  • Letter of Administration: Issued by court to assign ownership of property/land if owner dies interstate without a will.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENTS

These include:

  • Building Plan Approval: Development plans for housing estates, offices etc on a large parcel of land must be approved by Physical Planning departments.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): Large construction projects must conduct an EIA and obtain certification that the project will not severely impact the environment.

BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL DOCUMENTS

Commercial land transactions use documents like:

  • Property Valuation Report: Certified evaluation of property’s market value, required for bank mortgages and investing in real estate.
  • Power of Attorney: Appoints someone to act on your behalf to conduct land sale/purchase transactions.
  • Deed of Covenants: Defines rules all property owners in a housing estate agree to abide by, to regulate common areas and facilities.

TAX DOCUMENTS

Various taxes must be paid to obtain proper title documents and registrations:

  • Receipt of Land Use Charge: Proof of payment of annual land use levy to state government.
  • Receipt of Tenement Rate: Annual municipal tax payment receipt required in Lagos state.
  • Capital Gains Tax Receipt: Proof of capital gains tax payment on profits from land sale.
  • Consent Application Form: Required for governor’s consent application along with official fees payment slip.
  • Development Levy Receipt: In some states, additional tax must be paid before obtaining Survey Plan or C of O.

REGISTRATION RECORDS

Final step to formally record changes in land ownership, required for perfect title:

  • Land Registry Records: Register land in owner’s name with date at State Land Registry after formal registration process.
  • Certificate of Registered Title: Issued after land registry, as proof of perfect legal title over the land.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT DOCUMENTS

Supplementary documents that provide added validity:

  • Utility Bills: Recent electricity, water or similar bills in owner’s name related to the property.
  • Property Tax Receipts: Multiple years’ receipts establish proof of ownership.
  • Rent/Lease Agreements: Executed agreements showing tenant rental arrangements.

This covers the main documents involved at various stages of land allotment, ownership establishment, ownership transfer and updated records in Nigeria.

Note these are paper documents. However, government agencies are working to digitalize land records and automate parts of the formal approval processes. But hard copies of documents must still be submitted by applicants.

CONCLUSION

In summary, land dealings in Nigeria need to be backed by proper documentation as proof of ownership and approval of transactions by relevant government agencies.

During the course of this article, we have highlighted many documents.

This summarizes the full list of over 20 key documents covering different aspects of land ownership, transfer, development and transaction in Nigeria.

It doesn’t end there. You have to ensure authentic and up-to-date paperwork as per official requirements. This is the only way to securely buy, sell, lease or mortgage landed property in Nigeria without future dispute or loss.  Lastly, cross check that you have all documents in place!

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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