Land titles are documents that prove an entity’s ownership of land. Ideally, the person or organization who possesses the title to land owns that land.
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Documents regarded as land titles may vary depending on the state in which the land is located. In Lagos State, the following documents are considered land titles:
- Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)
- Survey Plan
- Deed of Assignment
- Governor’s Consent
If you’re going to buy land in Lagos State, make sure that the seller has these documents with them. They are evidence that the seller owns the land they’re offering you.
But you may be presented with fake copies of these documents. How can you tell that a land title is genuine?
Steps To Verifying Land Titles In Lagos State
Here are some steps you should take to determine the authenticity of land titles.
Confirm Property Registration With The Land Registry
Visit the Land Registry in Lagos to find out whether the land is registered with the state government or not. The land registry is located at Alausa in Ikeja. You can also confirm the registration details for the land there. Learn how to go about this in our article, How To Verify that a Property is Registered in Lagos State.
Check The Survey Plan At the Office of the Surveyor General
You can confirm the location and availability status of the land in your survey plan at the Office of the Surveyor General in Lagos State. It’s located in Ikeja. Besides ascertaining the authenticity of the survey plan, you could also find out whether the land has been assigned for government use.
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Ask A Surveyor To Verify The Survey Plan
You may request the survey plan from the seller and have a surveyor review it for you. The surveyor will help you determine whether the land you want to buy is captured by the survey plan. This ensures that you don’t get duped with a plan that isn’t relevant to your transaction.
Look Up Corporate Land Dealers At The Corporate Affairs Commission
If the land dealer is a business (or purports to be one), you should check with the Corporate Affairs Commission to ascertain that they are legally registered. It’s risky to buy land from unregistered entities; they may turn out to be fraudulent.
Compare Dates On The Documents
You have cause to be concerned if there are unexplained discrepancies between dates in the documents, or between what the document contains and what your inquiries have revealed. If you don’t get a satisfactory explanation for the mismatch, you should consider calling off the transaction.
Conduct A Search At The Probate Registry
The Lagos State Probate Registry has records of valid wills left by deceased persons. They come into the picture if the land in question was supposedly willed to the person who wants to sell it to you. A search at the probate registry could reveal whether the land was indeed willed to that person, or whether they have been granted the property through a legally recognized process.
Rule Out Family Disputes
You don’t want to get involved with a property if it’s the subject of a family dispute. Investigate the background of the dealer; if they claim to represent a family, try to confirm from other sources that they have indeed been appointed to do so.
Determining the authenticity of land titles can be cumbersome. But it’s worth the effort. If you don’t cross-check these things, you risk losing substantial amounts of money. Take the vetting process seriously enough, and you’ll get good land at the right valuation.
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