Bolaji Afolabi

13 Documents you need to Process a C of O (Certificate of Occupancy ) for your Property in Nigeria

The stress involved in processing a Certificate of Occupancy – C of O has made many people like you neglect the idea of getting this important title document. Many people would rather prefer to focus on developing their properties than wait for a C of O.

A C-of-O is one of the most difficult land title documents to get in Nigeria. The process of getting a C of O is slow, expensive, strenuous and cumbersome, especially to a property owner or real estate investor in Nigeria.

How to Process a C of O (Certificate of Occupancy ) for your Property in Nigeria

Let me tell you, no matter how cumbersome a C of O application process might be, it is always important you get the same for your property.

As a Share Certificate is important to a Stock Investor, so is a Certificate of Occupancy – C of O is important to a property owner and real estate investor.

What if tomorrow, the government indicate interest in your property or wanted to demolish it because of a proposed road? the implication of this decision on your investment is simple. No compensation for you! Simply because you do not have any ownership evidence from the constituted authority!

In my mind, if you can spend anything 10 Million Naira and above on a real estate investment or a property project, and yet you do not have a C of O or any government based Title document, then I will guess;

  • you have a little knowledge about a C of O, and how to process it in Nigeria.
  • you have never seen land grabbers in action.
  • you believe that a C of O is a waste of money.
  • You cannot wait for a longer processing time.

Take a seat, and grab a cup of water, I will explain everything about a C of O in Nigeria as follows;

  1. What is a C of O?
  2. Who Gives a C of O?
  3. Who is Qualified for a C of O?
  4. Can two people have the same C of O on a single Land?
  5. The Conditions Government Consider before they can give you a CofO
  6. Factors that can make the Government take back her C of O from you.
  7. Where will I start to Process a C of O in Nigeria?
  8. What are the requirements to Process a C of O in Nigeria – Lagos Example.
  9. Conditions in which your C of O Application can be Delayed.
  10. Why should I take a C of O serious?

What is a C of O?

A Certificate of Occupancy is a document issued by either the State or the Federal Government of Nigeria to an individual or a corporate entity as a means of conferring the legal right of ownership/occupancy on a Land / Immovable property.

In the Nigerian context, a C of O is defined by location, context and year terms. The Nigerian C of O is backed by the virtue of the Land Use Act of 1978.

Who Gives a C of O?

As earlier noted, the C of O is regulated by the Nigerian Land Use Act of 1978, it is the main law that regulates the Land Tenure System in Nigeria. This law empowers the Governor of any State of the Federation, including the FCT Minister to issue a C of O to any interested and qualified person in the state.

Only the serving/incumbent State Governor or FCT Minister can issue this certificate having acted in line with Sections 5, 9 and 10 of the Land Use Act of 1978, which confers the power and dominion of state land into the hands of the State governor.

Who is Qualified for it?

There is no discrimination in terms of sex, name, ethnicity, religion and nationality on the issuance of this certificate. It can be issued to any person(s) provided the applicant meets the State’s and FCT requirements.

Can 2 people have the same C of O on a single Land?

It must be emphasized without equivocation that no land can have two Certificates of Occupancy. If there exist two on a single land, one must be a fake document or issued in error due to the deception of the government. We have seen circumstances like this before, which were settled in the court.

The Conditions Government Consider before they can give you a C of O

It must be noted that the government can only issue a C of O to you if your land is free from all forms of government acquisition, and it does not jeopardize public interest.

If your land is under government acquisition and also committed to a specific use by the government, you will not be issued a C of O. Also, before the government proceed with you, they will also ensure that no previous title document has been issued on such land, that you are the first applicant for a title document on the land.

Factors that can make the Government take Back her C of O from you

Under Section 28 of the Land Use Act, the power of revocation of a right of occupancy is provided, and the Nigerian Government ( be it State or Federal) can revoke your land title.

The government can use the power of overriding public interest to revoke your C of O, and then pay you compensation in lieu.

Where will I start to Process a C of O in Nigeria?

In every State of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory – FCT, there is a government parastatal managing Land-Based Resources/affairs, this government tier can be called different names ranging from;

  • Ministry of Lands.
  • Ministry of Lands and Housing.
  • Ministry of Urban Development.
  • Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
  • The Lands Bureau.
  • Etc.

It is your responsibility to check out for the government Ministry or agency responsible for issuing a CofO or regulating activities on the State’s Land. A simple visit to your official State Government’s website will help.

In Lagos, Nigeria, we have the Lands Bureau, which is where all activities on the lands are regulated, and it is where statutory land documentation are made and verified.

What are the 13 Documents Required to Process a C of O in Nigeria – Lagos Example

  1. C of O Application Form.
  2. Red Copy Survey |  Rec. Copy (Record Copy Survey).
  3. Land Information Certificate (Obtainable from the Surveyor General Office).
  4. Deed of Assignment.
  5. Land / Property Purchase Receipt.
  6. Passport Photograph.
  7. Site Photograph.
  8. Site Sketch.
  9. If it is a Developed Property, a copy of the Approved Building Plan is Required.
  10. Evidence of Payment for the Assessment fee (the size and location of the land will determine the fee).
  11. Evidence of Payment of the Administrative fee (the size and location of the land will determine the fee).
  12. Evidence of the Payment of Publication Fee.
  13. Evidence of tax payment/clearance.
Please Note; Lagos has one of the most comprehensive C of O processing standards in Nigeria, if you can get all the above documents/details and instructions for your property, it will be easier for you to process your C of O in any State of the Nigerian Federation.

Conditions in which your C of O Application can be Delayed

  • If you don’t produce all the essential documents as well as the necessary information, the government official in charge of your application will get stocked at various stages and may never come back. It is important to always follow up or hire an agent to do the same for you if you don’t have the time.
  • Physical Address issue – If the address you supplied is not valid.
  • Going through the Back Door / Forging of documents.
  • Unbudgeted processing costs at various stages of the application.
  • Lengthy Processing Period.

Why should I take this Title Document Serious?

Without having a C of O on your property, the government might indicate interest or demolish your property without paying any compensation fee to the owner. But if it is a situation whereby you have already gotten your C of O that bears your name on the property, the government will have to pay you for your property before or after intruding on it.

Title Document

Also, if your property has a C of O, the government will be afraid of paying multiple compensations to a huge number of people that might be affected by such action, hence they would want to look for a suitable alternative. But once they see that your property and other adjourning properties do not have C of O, your site/property might be a perfect fit for them, without considering any alternative.

With your Cof O, you can apply for a bank loan for business growth/expansion or to move on in life, you can also use it to resolve any property dispute that may arise in the future.

It is a major property value booster.

Finally, it can be used as general collateral.

Please check this out;

14 Important Real Estate Documentations / Terms you should know as a First-time Property Buyer

Learning Review;

It will be important to recall that processing a CofO for your property has so many advantages. Although the process can be frustrating, you should always remember that;

  • Without having a C of O on your property, the government can indicate interest or demolish the property without paying any compensation fee to the owner.
  • Also, having a C of O on your property can boost its market value, and can help you to sell the property at a higher price.
  • Having a C of O will prevent land grabbers from hijacking your land.

Please recap the following;

  • What is a C of O?
  • Who Gives a C of O?
  • Who is Qualified for a C of O?
  • Can two people have the same C of O on a single Land?
  • The Conditions Government Consider before they can give you a CofO.
  • Factors that can make the Government take back her CofO from you.
  • Where will I start to Process a CofO in Nigeria?
  • What are the requirements to Process a C of O in Nigeria – Lagos Example.
  • Conditions in which your C of O Application can be Delayed.
  • Why should I take a C of O serious?

Are you curious to learn more about Real Estate documentation in Nigeria? Please connect with this article;

14 Important Real Estate Documentations / Terms you should know as a First-time Property Buyer

 

Disclaimer;

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Always do your research before you take any real estate advice.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

I am Bolaji Afolabi. I created bolajiafolabi.com to teach you about real estate and tech-based business opportunities. I work as a full-time partner at Globalclique, a Real Estate + Technology Consulting Company. I am also a CIO at Ibugbe and Partners, a Real Estate Marketing and Development Consulting Firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

Author Profile

Bolaji Afolabi
Bolaji AfolabiProptech + E-Business Expert
I created bolajiafolabi.com to teach you about real estate and tech-based business opportunities. I work as a full-time partner at Globalclique, a Real Estate + Technology Consulting Company. I am also a CIO at Ibugbe and Partners, a Real Estate Marketing and Development Consulting Firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

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5 thoughts on “13 Documents you need to Process a C of O (Certificate of Occupancy ) for your Property in Nigeria

  1. The writer has done a wonderful job on the Procedure of obtaining CofO in Nigeria. However, I will like to point to a particular word used in the post that’s inappropriate professionally “Red Copy Survey”……..Nothing is Red Copy, but rather, Rec. Copy, that’s Record Copy as filed in the Surveyor-General Office.

    Once again, thanks for the educative post

    1. Dear Dr. Idowu Oyeleye

      Thank you very much for your response sir.

      The Rec. Copy (Record Copy Survey) would be updated on the article so that a layman reader can understand what it means.

      I appreciate your contribution once again sir.

      Cheers.

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