HOW IS LAND REGISTRY PRACTICED IN NIGERIA?
Land Registration is simply the system by which all matters concerning possession, ownership, or rights conveyed in land can be registered and recorded with the government to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and prevent the unlawful transfer of ownership. Registration of land at the relevant Land Registry is one of the three stages of perfecting title to land to enhance the property rights enjoyed by the Assignee.
The land registration process is Lagos State is governed by the provisions of the Land Registration Law of Lagos State, 2015 and Land Use Act of 1978. For land to by duly registered in Lagos, such land must have been duly charted & survey; the transfer duly consented to by the Governor of Lagos State and the registration record duly entered at the land registry.
In Lagos State, the registration of title to land is governed by the Lagos State Lands Registration Law, 2015 which provides the mode of transfer of an interest in land, sub-lease or mortgage must be by deed, such transfers shall be deemed to be complete only after the deeds have been registered at the Land Registry".
The procedure for land registration in Lagos, Nigeria entails various requirements and steps. These requirements include a survey of the land to be registered; the obtainment of governor’s consent and the actual registration at the land registry.
Unless a governor’s consent has been obtained in respect of the transfer of any property or land, such a property cannot be duly registered.
Governor's consent is actually a consent obtained from the governor of a state on a land transaction, without which will be deemed illegal in the eyes of the law as well as the government. Governor's consent in Lagos and every other state in Nigeria are absolutely necessary where the holder of a Certificate of Occupancy over land or perhaps any other title decides to sell or perhaps alienate the land to someone else.
The law makes it unlawful for any holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate such right or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sub-lease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained.
In Lagos state, the Land Registry has the duty of keeping an up to date record of all land transactions within the state. The Directorate stores registered documents relating to land by virtue of the Land Instrument Registration Law of Lagos State 2015.
By and large, this following property transactions require a Governor's Consent include the followings: Transfer of property; Mortgage; Lease and Gift of property.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING GOVERNOR'S CONSENT IN LAGOS.
1. The first step is to make an application directed to the Lagos state director of the Land Services and Land Directorate.
2. The Land Form 1c which must be duly signed by the parties to the transaction and sworn to before a magistrate or perhaps notary public.
3. Three copies of duly signed Deed of Assignment, Mortgage; e.t.c
4. Survey plan (with evidence of lodgment of red copy).
5. Certified True Copy of title of the property.
6. Photographs of property showing date and time.
7. Payment of Charting fee and Endorsement fee.
8. Four passports photos of the vendor with a white background.
9. Payment of tax by both parties.
10. Administrative Charges for land services
11. The above documents are then directed to the office of the Surveyor-General of Lagos state for charting. Charting is basically the process of knowing the acquisition status of the land. The survey can only be carried out upon the successful charting of the land.
12. When a survey has been performed on the documents sent to the Surveyor General's office and no defect is actually detected, a thoroughly clean report is sent to the land bureau along with a demand notice for the payment of assessed fees.
Some of the fees or taxes payable are:
• Consent Fee
• Capital Gains Tax
• Stamp Duty Fee
• Registration Fee, and
• Current tax clearance certificates of the parties to the property transaction,
Finally, upon the approval of the transfer by the Governor, the application is actually delivered to a Commissioner specifically designated for that purpose by the Governor to sign the land document. When this has been done, the document is, therefore, sent back to the applicant for the payment of registration fees and other necessary fees and taxes.
The land registration process in Lagos State may take between 3 to 6 months or even more to be completed. It depends on the individual ability to be able to provide all the requirements needed for the perfection process.
The Land Registry Directorate is a part of the Land Bureau saddled with the responsibility of keeping an updated record of all land transactions in Lagos State. This agency of government is statutorily empowered by the Lagos State Land Registration Law 2015 to store registered documents relating to land, register deeds, assent, vesting deed, court judgment deed of release, issuance of loss of documents, certified true copy (CTC) and conducting a search.
The land registration process involves two systems which are Deed Recording and Title Registration of the ownership. Deed recording system helps to give publicity to land transactions, that a claimed interest already exists on the land, and to establish priority against any subsequent claim to the same interest. The end benefit of this system is to prevent any form of concealed dealings; While Title Registration is an authentication of the ownership or legal interest in a land. This system simply confirms transactions that confer ownership or interest. When the land is registered in the register, it serves as conclusive proof of title.
THE PROCEDURE FOR TITLE REGISTRATION OF LAND IN LAGOS STATE.
Every document of interest or title to land in Lagos State shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of the law.
As earlier stated, registering a land is one of the stages of perfecting title In Lagos State and there are about seven major stages involved in the perfection process and these are;
· Submission of an application for the Governor's consent at the Lands Bureau of Lagos State. This process is accompanied by relevant documents and evidence of payment of levies such as charting fee, application fee, administrative charges and endorsement fee, etc.
· The application is referred to the office of the Surveyor-General of Lagos State for the purpose of charting the survey plan, confirming if the land is free from government acquisition and if the coordinates in the land that reflects in the survey do not go beyond the boundary of the vendor's property.
· Thereafter the application is returned to the Lands Bureau and an assessment letter is issued requesting the applicants to make the necessary payments of consent fee, stamp duty, capital gains tax, registration fee, etc.
· The payment receipts obtained upon payment of the above fees are then forwarded to the office of the Lagos Bureau.
· The Deed is then forwarded to any designated commissioners for the endorsement of the portion of the Deed on behalf of the Governor for the Governor's consent
· After obtaining the consent, the deed is subsequently stamped by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service where the parties to the transaction are individuals or the Federal Inland Revenue Service where either the Assignor or Assignee is a company. Without stamping, the instrument will not be accepted for registration at the land registry.
· Finally, the stamped Deed is presented to the Lagos State Lands Registry for registration. This stage signifies the completion of the perfection process and a duly perfected original Deed is returned to the applicant.
Land acquisition and security of title by registration are fundamental to the expansion of business and growth of the economy, thus, it is very important to take steps to secure your interest in a land/property after purchase. Registering a title to land is a valid proof of title to the land.
In Conclusion, the land registration process in most other parts or states of Nigeria are similar to the process in Lagos State with some necessary variations and modifications. The most common effect is that the Governor of a State or the Minister, in the case of the Federal Capital Territory, must consent to transfer of any interest in land in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act before such a land or property can be duly registered in favor of the new owner.
1. Section 62 (1) Lagos State Lands Registration Law, 2015.
2. Section 2 of the Lagos State Land Registration Law 2015.
4. Section 22 of The Land Use Act, 1978.
WRITTEN BY: CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM
TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080