The procedure for conducting a search and verification of land titles in the State of Lagos in the Land Registry is divided into several stages.
The general objective of verifying a land property is to determine if the land has a good root of title and to identify any defects in the property title.
These stages involve conducting due diligence searches and investigations in the following locations, as well as many others that may be relevant to a specific land transaction:
1. Do a background check at the Lagos State Land Registry.
Confirmation of the survey results at the Lagos State Surveyor General’s office.
Conducting a background check at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Methods of verifying land in Lagos State and conducting a Land Registry search are briefly discussed below.
2. Do a background check at the Lagos State Land Registry.
The Lagos State Land Registration Act establishes a land registry in the state. For the purposes of this article, the Lagos State Land Registry is located at the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja Lagos. The Property Registry is in charge of keeping the records corresponding to the lands under its jurisdiction.
Only properties that have been registered with the state government can be verified at the land registry. A Land Registry search will reveal the true owner of the land, as well as any encumbrances, such as government acquisition, mortgages, or leases on the property.
3. Carrying out a topographic confirmation at the Surveyor General’s office
This procedure consists of verifying the location of the land in question using the coordinates of the topographic map. This stage is critical in the land verification process in Lagos State. The applicant requests the Surveyor General’s office to confirm the registration status and availability of a specific piece of land using the coordinates of the piece of land and the survey plan. The purpose of carrying out this process is to determine whether the land is under government acquisition or not and whether the land survey plan is genuine or not.
4. Carrying out a background check at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Companies frequently acquire property in Lagos State and are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). When a land seller or previous land owner is a CAC incorporated company, a CAC search is conducted to confirm whether there is a recorded lien or charge with the CAC in respect of the company’s assets. To verify a plot of land in Lagos, a CAC search is required.
5. Find the Probate Registry.
To verify a piece of land in Lagos, it is necessary to perform a probate registry search to determine if probate has been granted on any estate; who are the administrators of the estate; or who are the executors of a testator in the case of assets belonging to the estate of a deceased.
Unless a will or letters of administration are issued, sellers lack the legal authority to sell or transfer a deceased person’s property.
6. Traditional Research
In Lagos, where the land proposed for sale is owned by a single person, a traditional search is essential. This is accomplished by researching the seller’s family to identify the main members of the family, as well as the community of the town where the land is located, particularly if the land is family or community owned. It is critical to confirm that consent has been obtained from all family members, including the head of household, and that the last name is not null or voidable.
7. Physical examination of the land/property site
This land verification stage is easily accomplished by visiting the property in question. The purpose of a physical inspection is to reveal any defects in the title of the land/property, to confirm the physical condition of the land/property, to know the boundary of the land, to confirm whether it corresponds to the coordinate plan or survey, and to know if it is in the possession of any person, either by possession, lease or even seizure through an anti-corruption agency.
When purchasing land or property, it is essential to conduct thorough research and due diligence to remove any doubt, ambiguity or confusion. The only way to ensure that the land/property to be purchased in a transaction has good title is to do a thorough search in the places listed above, as well as many other places that may apply to a specific transaction.
Finally, retaining the services of a property lawyer to search for and throughout the process of buying property in Lagos State and elsewhere in Nigeria is critical to ensuring that the owner receives a genuine property with good title.