Property disputes in Nigeria are a common occurrence, and they often lead to legal battles that can last for years. These disputes can be a result of a lack of proper documentation, unclear ownership, or fraudulent practices. However, there are steps that can be taken to avoid property disputes in Nigeria.
How can you avoid this problem that could linger for years and exhaust you?
1) Conduct a thorough due diligence
Before purchasing or acquiring any property, it is essential to conduct a thorough due diligence. This includes verifying the property’s ownership, title, and legal status. It is also important to check if there are any encumbrances, such as mortgages or liens, on the property. A due diligence report will provide all the necessary information about the property, which can help avoid disputes in the future.
2) Hire a reputable lawyer
A reputable lawyer can help with the due diligence process and ensure that all legal requirements are met. They can also advise on the appropriate steps to take to avoid property disputes. It is important to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable about property laws in Nigeria and has a track record of handling property transactions.
3) Obtain proper documentation
Proper documentation is crucial in avoiding property disputes. The necessary documents include a title deed, land registry records, survey plans, and building plans. These documents should be verified by a lawyer to ensure that they are valid and up to date. It is also essential to keep copies of all the documents for future reference.
4) Ensure clear ownership
Clear ownership is crucial in avoiding property disputes. It is important to ensure that the property being purchased or acquired is owned by the seller and that they have the legal right to sell it. This can be verified by conducting a search at the land registry to confirm the ownership of the property.
5) Avoid fraudulent practices
Fraudulent practices, such as forgery, impersonation, and illegal sale of government land, are common in Nigeria. It is important to be cautious and vigilant when purchasing or acquiring property to avoid falling victim to fraudsters. One way to avoid fraud is to deal only with reputable real estate agents and lawyers.
6) Settle disputes amicably
In the event of a property dispute, it is advisable to settle it amicably, rather than resorting to legal action. This can be done through mediation or arbitration, which is a quicker and less expensive way of resolving disputes. However, it is important to involve a lawyer to ensure that the settlement is legally binding.
7) Be aware of zoning regulations
It is important to be aware of zoning regulations in the area where the property is located. Zoning regulations determine the type of buildings that can be constructed in a particular area. Failure to comply with zoning regulations can lead to disputes with the government or neighboring property owners.
8) Get a land survey
A land survey is essential in determining the exact boundaries of a property. This can help avoid disputes with neighboring property owners over encroachment or trespassing. It is important to ensure that the survey is conducted by a licensed surveyor and that the survey report is accurate and up-to-date.
9) Understand community land ownership
In some parts of Nigeria, community land ownership is common. In such cases, it is important to understand the community’s land ownership structure and to obtain permission from the appropriate community authorities before purchasing or acquiring any property. Failure to do so can lead to disputes with the community and legal challenges.
10) Consider title insurance
Title insurance is a type of insurance that protects the buyer against losses due to defects in the property title. It is advisable to consider title insurance when purchasing or acquiring property in Nigeria. Title insurance can help protect against unexpected legal challenges or disputes arising from defects in the property title.
11) Update property documentation
After acquiring a property, it is important to update the property documentation, such as the title deed and land registry records, to reflect the new ownership. Failure to update the documentation can lead to disputes with the previous owners or their heirs, who may still claim ownership of the property.
Property disputes in Nigeria can be avoided by conducting thorough due diligence, hiring a reputable lawyer, obtaining proper documentation, ensuring clear ownership, avoiding fraudulent practices, and settling disputes amicably.
Dennis Isong is a TOP REALTOR IN LAGOS. He Helps Nigerians in Diaspora to Own Property In Lagos Nigeria STRESS-FREE. For Questions WhatsApp/Call 2348164741041