ASSESSMENT OF JOINT OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY IN NIGERIA
THE FACT THE THAT PROPERTY IS JOINTLY OWNED DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PARTIES ARE PERPETUALLY BOUND BY THE RELATIONSHIP
PROPERTY LAW TRANSACTION
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As a way of creating wealth for the future, the joint ownership or co-ownership has become the most means people use to purchase and own landed property, for the purpose of investing into the future.
Joint ownership or co-ownership of property is not uncommon in Nigeria especially for residential, commercial, industrial purposes. Joint ownership can be used to describe real property. Real property may include land, fixed immovable structures, and minerals found under the land.
Consequentially, joint ownership as the name implies mean that each party has a right of ownership in the land and can exercise such power accruable to them on the property. However, the powers exercisable on the land must be exercised jointly by the parties. This mean that, such powers can only be exercised subject to the approval of all owners. This position is founded on the nemo dat rule, meaning that you cannot validly give what you do not have.
However, as it is common with humans, the joint ownership of a property, either by contract, gift or by inheritance can lead to disputes and litigation between the surviving owner or owners and the deceased owner’s heirs, especially if the joint ownership instrument is not judiciously drafted.
The fact that the property is a joint ownership does not imply that the co-owners are perpetually bound to that relationship.Therefore, in order to avoid the unforeseen the following steps can be followed:
Upon acquisition or at any time the parties may choose to terminate the joint ownership of a particular property, they may voluntarily partition or severe the property where such is allowed under the terms of allocation of the property. On the other hand, a party may also apply to a court of law for a partition of a jointly owned land where there has been persistent refusal by one or more of the owners to allow other co-owners to enjoy their rights in the land. Once the partition is settled, get your lawyer to execute and register the conveyance. The conveyance in this case is otherwise known as a Deed of Partition.
TERMS OF MANAGEMENT
Where partitioning or severance is not possible, parties may enter an agreement on the mode of managing the joint property. In this case, get your lawyer to prepare terms of management. The terms of management should also include clauses like sale, devolution and sharing or use of the property in case of death of any of the joint owners. For instance, Joint owners can agree and enter into a written agreement either in the form of terms of management or otherwise that upon the death of any of the joint owners, the heir or the next of kin of the deceased joint owner will survive his/her title in the said property. Lastly, in every endeavour of man, owning property jointly is not a decision to be taken without due diligence coupled with the ability to administer such property.
WRITTEN BY: CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM
Tel: 08065553671, 08024230080