The Certificate of Occupancy, popularly called the “C of O” is what signifies legally that you have interest on the land upon which a property is standing on, or upon which a property will stand on. It is a very important document in any land and property transaction. Certificate of Occupancy is what makes you a lawful interest holder in the land and it also describes the type of use the land can be put to; commercial, mixed development or residential.
C of O is issued by the State Government to the buyer of the land. For example, according to the Constitution of Nigeria and since 1978, all land in a state (especially the urban parts of the state) is to be held by the Governor in trust for the people of the state. This is not to say that we still don’t have people who exercise rights of their own on landed properties. In Lagos State for example, these people are popularly called “omo-oniles”, and usually, their holdings are outside the legal frame work. To buy a property therefore, people make their purchase from the “omo-oniles”, State Government or some other entity (individual or corporate) who must have earlier bought from either “omo-oniles” or State Government.
At South and Sttes Properties Limited, we usually advise that a proper due diligence be done when buying a piece of land or an already built property because ignorance is not an excuse in law. Whoever you buy from, it is important that you obtain your Certificate of Occupancy where none existed before so as to ensure you secure a perfect title to the land, upon which there is a property or upon which you will build your property. If you are worried about anything as regards the C of O, contact us at South and Sttes Properties Limited.
Note: Our next three blog publications would provide further insight into Certificate of Occupancy, don’t miss them!