The above captioned statement was a paid advertisement notice in a newspaper publication about two years ago by the ogun state government under “THE OGUN STATE HOME OWNERS CHARTER” for all those with existing land, building or houses in any parts of ogun state to process their building plan approval and certificate of occupancy (C of 0) at a huge discount from the state government.
I so much got captivated advert notices that I have decided to dedicate this week’s write up to the very need and benefits of having genuine title documents on land or landed properties.
Landed properties like others from of assets must have genuine title documents to establish its true ownership status and claim. There are many landed properties (building/house) without genuine documents, owned by people in most part of the country and which in itself a great risk is for such people to eventually claim ownership of them or be compensated when government acquires tem for overriding public interest.
In the course of my real estate writing and journalism (about two decades now) I have discovered that many people are not really familiar with the kind of documents they need to have on their landed properties (houses, building, land etc) that will legally recognize them as genuine owners or assist them to claim compensation in the event of compulsory acquisition exercise that could be embarked upon by the government or any of its agencies.
So I assume it is important that I first start with some of the many reasons I believe people do not have genuine documents on their land or landed properties. Firstly, due to lack of proper awareness and adequate orientation for the people as to the reasons and benefits of having genuine documents on their landed properties from the government and/or its agencies.
Secondly, the lack of knowledge or insight into the various land and building laws/codes governing all matters relating to land and landed properties, transaction, alienation, development etc in the country. Also various avenues and means by which land is acquired are not directly from the government or any of its agencies. Another reason is when people try to evade paying the necessary levies charged on land and landed properties to government and its agencies by owners of such properties.
Having indentified the reason why people do not have genuine documents on their properties, kindly permit me to go further in explaining those documents I am referring to as genuine in relation to land or landed properties transaction in Nigeria.
The documents that are regarded as been genuine in relation to ownership status claim of land and landed properties in Nigeria are CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY(statutory – federal and state, customary –local government ),Registered Deed of assign –ment/conveyance ( in case of transfer of land ownership/interest), Land certificate (title document issued prior to the promulgation of land use Act of 1978), Duly stamped and registered land survey plan (Duly signed surveyor and registered in the appropriate land survey Ministry either at the state of federal level) and a Duly signed and stamped Building Plan Approval permit indicating the building permit reference number on it.
Please note that a mere land purchase receipt does not establish the genuine ownership status of land and landed properties where /when such land receipt is not been perfected in with the appropriate government authority or agency by the owner.
Reference to this statement is the land use act of March 28, 1978 which transfers all land within each state of the federation unto the executive governor of that state to be held in trust for the benefits of the citizens. So therefore, the only direct source/means to acquire land in Nigeria is from the state government of each state of the federation except only where the federal government or any other holders of land has acquired such land prior to promulgation of the land use act 1978.
The law does not recognize the so called “omo onile” (traditional land owners) as the custodians of land whom people should patronize to acquire land for various uses, but rather, the state or federal government any of their agencies. In the event where and when land is brought from the “omo onile “(traditional land owners), it is very compulsory and mandatory for the purchaser of such land to still go ahead in perfecting the title document and transaction with the state and federal government (if it a federal land) to make such sale become genuine and legally tenable, as it is after this is don that such a person will be given and/or issued the necessary title document (certificate of occupancy) to establish their ownership status.
Means of collateral: one of the benefits of having genuine documents on land and landed properties is for such documents to be used as a means of collateral to secure a loan from the bank or mortgage institutions whenever the owner of such land and landed property requires some financial aid to execute a particular project. It is not only at the banks or mortgage institutions where genuine documents on land and landed properties can serve as a requirement for loan advancement, but other areas or channels which the owner of the land and landed properties deems it fit to present his/her property documents as a means of collateral.
Easy transferability/Alienation: Another benefit of having genuine documents on land and landed properties is that it allows for easy transferability and/or alienation of such land and landed property on the part of the purchaser and seller. This will be made possible after thorough search at the appropriate land registry as to the ownership statue of the land and landed properties. Also, it will be very beneficial in the event of transferring or alienating the land and landed properties to the heirs of the owner upon his/her demise.
Adequate Compensation: whoever has genuine documents on his/her properties stands a great chance of been adequately compensation in the event of any compulsory acquisition exercise embarked upon by the government (state and federal) for the overriding benefits and and/or interest of the citizens of the state or country. In the event of compulsory acquisition exercise, the appropriate government or agency involved will only compensate those people that have genuine documents on their affected land and landed properties upon presentation and scrutiny of its validity.
Establish ownership status: this is also of the greatest benefit of having genuine documents on landed properties as it helps the holder of such document to establish true and ownership status on any matter relating to such claim. Having genuine documents on land and landed properties can help to establish ownership statue at the land registry, court of law during disputes, financial and mortgage institutions, etc.
Sense of security: Another benefit of having genuine documents on landed properties is the sense of security that comes with it. This is so because whoever has genuine documents on their land and landed properties will greatly be at peace with themselves on all their real estate investment holdings as they are well secured. Genuine land and landed property documents serve as an instrument of security for the guidance and protection of holders of such documents against theft, encroachment or illegal transfer/alienation of their land and landed properties without their prior knowledge or consent.
Increase in value: genuine document also makes the land appreciate so fast in value. A landed property with genuine documents in the same location will tend to command different price value based on their title document and particulars because the land and landed property with genuine documents will increase in its monetary value as compared to the other one without genuine documents.