7 Land Documents To Know Before Investing In Real Estate

Published April 13, 2021 by collinsokere

It is essential that any individual who intends to purchase landed property must know and understand the types of documentation that govern land transactions.

The most effective method for claiming land ownership is to have title documents essential and recognized by different government rules and laws on such landed properties.

There are 7 title documents relevant to landed property ownership in Nigeria; they are:


These are title documents brought into operation through the Property and Conveyance laws (PCL) 1969. The document conveys freehold titles, ownership held perpetually from generation to generation. The title is still in use today even though they are subject to the terms of the Land Use Act 1978.


The Land Use Act 1978 operated vested all land in care of the state governor who would hold such land in trust for the people. The Governor issues the Certificate of Occupancy; it is the officially recognized Land Document for demonstrating the right to a Land for a term of 99 years. As previously known, all lands belong to the Government.


This document vests ownership to the person selling; it is the evidence of the right to own and dispose of such property. It is a vital document that must be demanded and given to a purchaser after concluding any land/property transaction between the Buyer and the property’s seller.


The Deed of Lease was used to transfer property, especially government properties in Ikoyi, Surulere, Victoria Island axis of Lagos state during the mid-70s and 80s after the promulgation of the Land Use Act 1978. These lands were mostly Federal Government and high profile lands, and it was the first foray into the issuance of the Certificates of Occupancy to people.

This land document is obtained whenever a land with a Certificate of Occupancy is bought. The land document lets the Governor and the general public know that the land in question has changed hands.


The Deed of Sub-Lease is another relevant legal document duly signed and stamped indicating a land and landed property transaction between a leaseholder of land, sub-leasing his/her unexpired lease term to a third party.


A Land Certificate is a document of title as to the ownership of a parcel of land. Before the promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978, it was issued by a government’s land registry for registered freehold or leasehold lands in Nigeria. Land Certificate was issued to owners of landed properties when the Property Conveyancing Law of 1969 was still in effect.


This land document shows a parcel of land’s boundary measurements to give an accurate size and description of that land. It reveals the actual ownership status in any properties’ transactions. It also shows if such land is not under any government acquired or committed lands/area. Whenever you are negotiating for a land purchase, you should request the Survey Plan and then take it to your Surveyor to conduct a land search to know if the land is free from Government acquisition or know the zoning restrictions.

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