What you need to know about real estate practice in Nigeria


8/11/20232 min read

Introduction: Real estate law practice in Nigeria is a complex field that involves various legal aspects related to the acquisition, development, management, and disposal of real property. This article aims to provide an overview of the key considerations and best practices for professionals involved in real estate law practice in Nigeria.

1. Understanding the Regulatory Framework: Real estate law in Nigeria is governed by various legislations and regulatory bodies. Professionals in this field should have a comprehensive understanding of the Land Use Act, the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act, and other relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, knowledge of the roles and functions of regulatory bodies such as the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority, and state-specific bodies is crucial.

2. Due Diligence and Title Verification: One of the fundamental aspects of real estate law practice is conducting thorough due diligence and title verification. This involves conducting searches at the appropriate land registries to confirm the authenticity of the property’s title, as well as identifying any encumbrances or claims on the property. Professionals should also ensure compliance with the provisions of the Land Instruments Registration Law and obtain necessary documentation such as certificates of occupancy, building permits, and survey plans.

3. Drafting and Reviewing Contracts: Real estate transactions in Nigeria often involve the drafting and reviewing of various contracts, including sale and purchase agreements, lease agreements, tenancy agreements, and construction contracts. Professionals should possess strong drafting skills and pay attention to important clauses such as payment terms, warranties, dispute resolution mechanisms, and termination clauses. It is advisable to seek legal advice and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

4. Land Use and Planning Approvals: Navigating the land use and planning approval process is a crucial aspect of real estate law practice in Nigeria. Professionals should assist clients in obtaining the necessary approvals from relevant authorities, such as building permits, development permits, and environmental impact assessments. Understanding the zoning and development control regulations is essential to ensure compliance with land use restrictions and avoid potential legal issues.

5. Dispute Resolution: Real estate disputes are not uncommon in Nigeria, and professionals in this field should be prepared to handle them effectively. Familiarity with alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation and arbitration, can help resolve disputes more efficiently and cost-effectively. In cases where litigation is necessary, understanding the court system and the procedures involved is crucial.

Conclusion: Real estate law practice in Nigeria requires a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory framework, due diligence, contract drafting, land use approvals, and dispute resolution mechanisms. By adhering to these key considerations and best practices, professionals can navigate the complexities of real estate transactions, mitigate legal risks, and provide effective legal representation to their clients in this dynamic field.