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How to find out who owns a property

Posted by Danbel Properties on August 24, 2022
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Now that the moment has come to buy a property, the usual worry returns. Are the individuals attempting to sell you the land the legitimate owners? Given the prevalence of real estate fraud in Nigeria, this concern is not without merit. The good news is that you can track down the original landowners.

The process for doing a land title search and verifying it at the Land Registry in Lagos State involves several steps.

The overall goal of confirming a landed property is to determine if the land has a solid root of title and, if not, to find any title flaws.

These steps entail performing a thorough search and investigation at the areas listed below and many others that might be relevant to a specific land transaction:

  • Performing a search at the Lagos State Land Registry.
  • Performing a survey confirmation at the Lagos State Surveyor General’s office.
  • Performing a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The methods for confirming land in Lagos State and using the Land Registry to search are briefly outlined below.

Performing a search at the Lagos State Land Registry

The Land Registration Law of Nigeria establishes a land registry in each state. The Land Registry for Lagos is located at the Secretariat Alausa, Ikeja Lagos, as the emphasis of this article is Lagos State. Documents pertaining to land located within its borders must be kept up to date by the Land Registry. Only real estate can be checked at the land registration if it has been registered with the state government. The true owner of the land can be found by conducting a search at the Land Registry, which will also show any encumbrances the property may have, including government acquisitions, mortgages, and leaseholds of any kind.

Performing a survey confirmation at the Lagos State Surveyor General’s office

During this procedure, the coordinates from the survey plan are used to confirm the location of the parcel of land in question. The verification of land in Lagos State must go through this procedure. Using the coordinates and survey plan of the land, the applicant submits a request to the office of the Surveyor-General to validate the registration and availability status of a specific parcel of land. This procedure is being used to determine whether the land is being acquired by the government and whether the survey plan for the land is accurate or not.

Performing a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

Property acquisition by businesses is common in Lagos State, and these businesses frequently register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). When a seller of land or prior owner of land is a company incorporated with the CAC, a search is done there to find out if there is a charge or encumbrance registered in the CAC about the firm’s assets. To confirm a plot of land in Lagos, it is crucial to do a search at the CAC.

Other methods include

Traditional Investigation 

When a plot of land is being considered for sale in Lagos and it appears that only one person owns it, it is crucial to carry out a traditional investigation to confirm this. This is accomplished by looking into the vendor’s family to determine who the key family members are, as well as the community in the town where the land is located, particularly in cases when the land is owned by a family or a group of people. It is crucial to confirm that the family name is neither void nor voidable and that all family members, including the family head, gave their assent.

Physical inspection of the land/property location

This step of the land verification process is easily accomplished by physically inspecting the subject property. The goal of a physical inspection is to find any flaws in the title of the land or property, confirm its physical condition, determine its boundary, determine whether it matches the coordinates or survey plan, and determine whether it is occupied by anyone through tenancy, leasehold, or even seizure by an anti-corruption agency.

However, it should be emphasized that in order to ensure this procedure is successful, you need the assistance of a registered surveyor and real estate lawyer.

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