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Real Estate Documentation: Deed of Lease or Deed of Assignment

Posted by Danbel Properties Investments on September 20, 2023

Real estate transactions in Nigeria can be complex and daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the various legal documents involved. Two common documents that often cause confusion are the “Deed of Lease” and the “Deed of Assignment.” In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of these documents, their key elements, benefits, and help you make an informed decision when dealing with real estate in Nigeria.

Understanding Real Estate Transactions in Nigeria

Before we dive into the specifics of Deeds of Lease and Assignment, it’s essential to grasp the basics of real estate transactions in Nigeria. These transactions involve the transfer of rights or ownership of property and are governed by various laws and regulations.

What is a Deed of Lease?

A Deed of Lease is a legal document that grants a lessee (tenant) certain rights to occupy and use a property for a specified period, often subject to specific terms and conditions.

Key Elements of a Deed of Lease

  • Parties Involved: The document identifies both the lessor (landlord) and the lessee (tenant) and their respective roles.
  • Property Description: It provides a detailed description of the property, including its location and boundaries.
  • Term: Specifies the duration of the lease and any renewal options.
  • Rent: Outlines the amount of rent, payment frequency, and any security deposits.
  • Rights and Responsibilities: Defines the rights and responsibilities of both parties during the lease period.

Benefits of a Deed of Lease

  • Legal Protection: It offers legal protection to both the landlord and the tenant by clearly outlining their rights and obligations.
  • Security: Tenants have the security of knowing they can occupy the property for a specified time.

What is a Deed of Assignment?

A Deed of Assignment is a legal document used to transfer ownership of a property from one party (assignor) to another (assignee). This document is crucial in property sales and transfers.

Key Elements of a Deed of Assignment

  • Parties Involved: It identifies the parties involved in the transfer, including the seller and the buyer.
  • Property Description: Provides a detailed description of the property to be transferred.
  • Consideration: Specifies the amount or consideration for the property transfer.
  • Covenants: Contains promises or agreements related to the property transfer.

Benefits of a Deed of Assignment

  • Legal Transfer: It legally transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.
  • Evidence of Transaction: Serves as evidence of the property transaction, which is crucial for future legal purposes.

Choosing Between Deed of Lease and Deed of Assignment

Now that we understand the basics of these documents, how do you choose between a Deed of Lease and a Deed of Assignment for your real estate needs in Nigeria? Several factors come into play.

Factors to Consider

Duration of Rights

  • Deed of Lease: If you need temporary rights to occupy a property, a Deed of Lease is suitable. It provides a fixed-term lease with the option to renew.
  • Deed of Assignment: If you intend to own the property outright, a Deed of Assignment is the choice, as it transfers full ownership.

Transfer of Ownership

  • Deed of Lease: This document does not transfer ownership; it grants temporary rights to use the property.
  • Deed of Assignment: If you want to buy or sell a property, a Deed of Assignment is the legal instrument for the transfer of ownership.

Legal Implications

  • Deed of Lease: Primarily deals with leasehold rights and responsibilities during the lease term.
  • Deed of Assignment: Involves the legal transfer of property ownership, which requires more comprehensive documentation.

The Importance of Legal Assistance

When dealing with real estate transactions in Nigeria, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance to ensure a smooth process and protect your interests.

Consulting a Real Estate Lawyer

A qualified real estate lawyer can provide valuable guidance, review contracts, and ensure that the transaction complies with Nigerian laws and regulations.

Drafting and Registration

Both Deeds of Lease and Assignment must be drafted carefully and registered with the appropriate authorities to be legally enforceable. Legal professionals can assist in this crucial process.


In Nigerian real estate, understanding the difference between a Deed of Lease and a Deed of Assignment is essential. Your choice will depend on your specific needs, whether it’s temporary occupancy or full ownership. Seeking legal assistance and ensuring proper documentation is vital for a successful real estate transaction in Nigeria.


  1. Do I need a lawyer for a Deed of Lease or Deed of Assignment in Nigeria?It is highly recommended to consult a real estate lawyer to ensure the legality and accuracy of your documents in Nigerian real estate transactions.
  2. What is the typical duration of a Deed of Lease in Nigeria?The duration of a Deed of Lease can vary but is often for one to five years, with the option to renew.
  3. Can I sell a property using a Deed of Lease in Nigeria?No, a Deed of Lease grants temporary rights to occupy but does not transfer ownership for selling purposes.
  4. What is the role of the government in property registration in Nigeria?The government plays a vital role in property registration to ensure legal compliance and property rights protection.
  5. Are there any tax implications when using a Deed of Lease or Deed of Assignment in Nigeria?Tax implications can vary, and it’s advisable to consult a tax professional to understand any tax obligations related to your real estate transaction.


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