WHAT IS C OF O?
This literally means Certificate of Occupancy. It is usually issued by the State Government since all lands in the State are now vested in the Governor of the State pursuant to Section 1 of the Land Use Act 1978. The Governor assumes the position of a trustee and therefore administers all lands in the state for the benefit of the citizens.
WHAT IS RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY?
Under the Land Use Act, the interest that individual now enjoys on his or her land is known as RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY. The right of occupancy can be categorized into 4 divisions, which are:
1. Statutory right of occupancy expressly granted by the Governor of the State
2. Statutory right of occupancy deemed granted by the State
3. Customary right of occupancy expressly granted by the Local Government Council
4. Customary right of occupancy deemed granted by the State through the Local Government Council.
It should be noted that the document which evidences the right of occupancy an individual or occupier enjoys on his or her land is known as CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY usually granted for 99, 55 years as the case may be.
Once the C of O has been granted, it confers Exclusive Possession on the grantee while the grantee must ensure compliance with the Terms and Conditions for such grant as explicitly stated in the Certificate. Again, by virtue of Sections 21 and 22 of the Land Use Act 1978, the grantee cannot ALIENATE his or her right of occupancy, whether statutory or customary, without the Consent of the Governor first had and obtain. Failure to secure the necessary consent of the Governor is itself punishable with imprisonment for 1 year or the payment of fine of N5,000.00.
HOW TO GET A C OF O IN LAGOS STATE
The procedures for getting a C of O in Lagos State under its Laws are as follows:
1. Writing a formal letter addressed to the Executive Secretary – Land Use and Allocation Committee, Block 13, Room 4, Lands Bureau, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
2. Complete the Certificate of Occupancy form with receipt i.e. Form LRF 1.
3. Land Information Certificate with receipt.
4 . Include four original Survey Plan (2 on fabric and 2 on paper).
5. Four Passport Photograph with white background.
6. A sketched map of the site location
7. Ensure that the purchase receipt is duly stamped.
8. Include an evidence of payment of Income Tax
9. Current development levy. (If the land is owned by a company, Include two directors tax clearance and development levy).
10. Publication fee of N10,000.00
11. Capital contribution fee subject to a minimum of N30,000.00
12. Building plan approval if developed.
13. Copy of tenement rate receipt (if occupied).
WORK FLOW FOR NON-STATE LAND CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
• Submission of Application and Vital Information Form for Certificate of Occupancy (by the applicant).
• Compilation of applicant’s names for publication, title search for previous Registration and site inspection. This may take 21 days in all.
• Certificate of Occupancy Engrossment by Land Use & Allocation Committee(LUAC).
• Recommendation for execution of C of O (by E.S. LUAC, SSA LANDS & P.S. Lands)
• Execution of C of O (by His Excellency)
• Stamp Duty (by Commissioner for Stamp Duties)
• Registration of C of O (by Land Registry)
• Collection of executed and registered C of O (by Applicant or his agent). It should be noted that there are rules governing the collection of the C of O which are expected to be followed.
IMPORTANCE OF C OF O
It is important for every property owner to have Certificate of Occupancy as evidence of right of occupancy. Some of the reasons are:
1. It confers exclusive possession on person named therein
2. It constitute a sound root of title during alienation
3. It sometimes prevent property acquisition by the State Government, subject however to the overriding power of acquisition by the State Government.
4. It is useful as collateral or security for loan
5. It is useful for mortgage transactions
6. It serves as a root of title
7. It prevents multiple parties from claiming ownership on the same property
8. It is used in resolving land disputes/ownership tussle
9. It may be required for other official and legal purpose