Title Perfection In Nigeria: What You Must Do After Buying a Property
Title perfection is the process of registering a property you just acquired with the government of the state where the property is situated. The title perfection process involves applying for governor’s consent, stamping and a couple of registrations with relevant authorities.
Many people who are oblivious to legal requirements usually think that after executing deeds of assignment they have done all that is required of them to enjoy their newly acquired property.
However, there is still a lot more to be done to “perfect” the title to the newly acquired land.
Like i mentioned earlier, title perfection includes the application for Governor’s consent, payment of stamp duties and registration of conveyance or assignment at the Lands Registry.
This is done in order to ensure compliance with relevant statutes and protect the legal validity of the purchaser’s title to the property.
In Lagos State, the applicable law is the Lagos State Land Registration Law 2015.
Check out the procedures involved in title perfection below.
Title perfection is in three stages: consent, stamping and registration.
The Land Use Act of 1978 prohibits alienation of interest in land without the consent of the governor of the state where the land is situate. However, where the property is subject to a customary right of occupancy, the consent required is that of the Local Government where the property is situate. Usually, it is the duty of the holder of the right of occupancy (i.e the previous owner) to obtain the governors consent, but in practice this is left to the buyer.
The application for consent is made to the LAGOS STATE LANDS BUREAU and accompanied by the necessary documents.
Failure to obtain the Governor’s consent may provide excuses for challenging the transaction; although the court has decided that such argument should not emanate from the seller on whom the duty to obtain consent ordinarily lies.
The instrument transferring title or creating interest in land is to be stamped within 30 days of obtaining the governor’s consent, failing which attracts penalty for late stamping. An unstamped instrument will not be accepted for registration and may be inadmissible in court.
Although perfection of title does not guarantee the authenticity of the title passed to the new owner or of the transaction leading to the creation of the interest, it serves as a notice to the world such that any other transfer effected or interest created after it ranks next to it in priority.
The application for registration must be lodged at the lands registry in Lagos within 60 days from the date of execution.
While it seems that the stages are distinct because they attract different consequences, they are interrelated as an instrument will not be accepted for stamping without Governor’s consent, and there can be no registration without consent and stamping.
In land transactions the chain of title has considerable significance. The Lagos State Government acknowledges this and has developed a system to track the ownership of pieces of real property within its domain. As such, it is important that new buyers document ownership in accordance with the law to avoid confusion and disputes that might arise from competing interests.
The registration of each transaction is a notice to the general public of the subsisting interest in the land and this helps a prospective buyer’s decision making.