For any building structure you see, whether a bungalow, duplex, sky scraper or even the foundational stage of a building, the Certificate of Occupancy, popularly called the C of O is what signifies legally that you have interest on the land upon which that property is standing on.
It is a very important document in any land transaction and is issued by the Government to the buyer of the land. Certificate of Occupancy is what makes you a lawful interest holder in the land and it also describes the type of use the land can be put to; commercial, mixed development or residential.
For example, according to the Constitution of Nigeria and since 1978, all land in a state (especially the urban parts of the state) is to be held by the Governor in trust for the people of the state.
This is not to say that we still don’t have people who exercise rights of their own on landed properties. These are called “omo-oniles” in the popular palace. Usually, their holdings are outside the legal frame work and would have to be brought in when you buy or even by themselves before selling if it is to become bankable.
To buy land therefore, you can make your purchase from the “omo-oniles”, Government or some other entity (individual or corporate) who must have earlier bought from either “omo-onile”s or Government.
Therefore to purchase a land, you either buy directly from the government, from individuals who bought from the government or from these so called “omooniles.” In cases where the said land has being a matter of some form of acquisition, you may have to pay the two of them to have access to a land.
At Realty Point, we usually advise that a proper due diligence be done when buying a piece of land because ignorance is not an excuse in law. Whoever you buy from, it is important that you obtain your Certificate of Occupancy where none existed before so as to ensure you secure a perfect title to the land.
To obtain your C of O from the government, you need to
1. Apply for land information and get your land information certificate. To do this, you need to pay an application fee at the Surveyor General’s office and provide a chartable survey plan (2 cloth, 2 paper)
2. Purchase a C of O application form. If a residential building, it’s =N=5,000 but if commercial, it’s =N=20,000 in Lagos State.
3. Fill and submit the application form in Land Use Allocation Commission (LUAC) with the following supporting documents
o Land information certificate
o Receipt for land information fee
o Receipt for application form
o Publication/inspection fee of =N=10,000
o Capital contribution (to be calculated based on size and location of land)
o Land purchase receipt/agreement (duly stamped)
o Copy of current tax clearance certificate (individuals)
o Copy of =N=100 development levy receipt
o Site location sketch
o Four passport photographs of applicant with white background
o Copy of approved building plan (if developed)
o Copy of tenement rate receipt (if occupied) or Land Use Charge
o Cover letter addressed to executive secretary LUAC, stating all documents attached, as above and typed with applicant’s address
o Acknowledgement slip from LUAC
When this is done, a letter of confirmation is issued to the Applicant with a plot and block number and the Scheme Officer processes the application for the Certificate of Occupancy, signs off on the file and forwards the files to the Executive Secretary of LUAC.
This takes a period of five days. After this, the Surveyor General provides Scheme Officer with digitized survey which is processed for two days. The Executive Secretary LUAC approves processing and signs letter of allocation.
He signs off on the file and sends the file to the Senior Special Assistant to His Excellency on Lands. He or she then vets the entire file and sends it with a covering memo to the Permanent Secretary Lands Bureau.
However, if the file has a query, the message is relayed back by notification. This process takes two days also. When the Permanent Secretary is done, he signs off the memo and sends the file to His Excellency who approves and electronically signs the Certificate of Occupancy. these two processes takes a period of four days and should the file have a query, message is relayed back by notification.
Upon approval and signing of the Certificate of Occupancy by His Excellency, He signs off and sends it to the Deputy Registrar for further processing. The Deputy Registrar processes the file further, signs off and sends it to Registrar of Titles for final registration.
The Registrar of Titles then registers the Certificate of Occupancy, signs off and request for its printing. These processes take a total of five days. Altogether, the total process adds to a period of 21 days.
It is worthy of note that in these 21 days, the application is advertised to attract objection or no objections before it is processed.
Kind of tedious wouldn’t you say? That’s why Realty Point Ltd is here to take the stress off you!
Acquisition of Land: Since 1978, the major legislation regulating the acquisition of land within the country has been the Land Use Act of 1978 which states that all land in a State is to be held in trust by the State Governor for the benefit of all Nigerians. By law, foreigners may also acquire land wherever it is located in the country from either the State governments or from other holders.
Consent: The issue of getting a property can sometimes be very daunting if you have to think about the stress and many processes involved. First, you have to be sure what you’re buying is genuine and will not be sold to anyone else after your payment except by you.
Deed: A deed, as defined in the dictionary is a signed document pertaining to the ownership or legal rights of landed property. Ownership, legal, rights, property, signed are some of the keywords that stand out here.
Land Titles: The Government of Lagos State headed by Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola recently announced that land owners in Lagos who have no proper land title should make haste to regularise their title within 6months starting from August 1, 2012 or face the consequences of revocation.
Building Plan: I like to think of building plan thus: Every idea starts with the gift of imagination! However, it has been proven that even the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. Imagination needs to be captured otherwise it becomes a thing of the past.