Before you buy any land, take time to digest this article on the 10 possible indicators of land dispute before you proceed with your transaction.
Mainly because when it comes to landed transactions, it is buyers beware “Caveat Emptor”. The person who parts with money is usually the one that suffers the most.
This information will save you the pains of losing your hard earned money to fraudsters and the stress of trying to recover it, which is always difficult if not impossible to get back.
According to Steve Marr, “When a project appears to be failing, analyze the situation and assess the options available.”
In other words, leap and also learn from the failures of others, no matter the project you are involved in.
Here are 10 indicators of a land under dispute, at the end of the day you will be able to see or read beyond the line:
1. FAKE or NO LAND DOCUMENTS.
One of the factors leading to land dispute in Nigeria is the problem of fake or no land documents.
When we talk about obtaining fake documents to purchase a land, what actually comes to our mind are the activities of the popular omoniles, land speculators, fraudulent developers, touts and the likes.
These persons make their money from carrying out what obviously are criminal, illegal and therefore unacceptable activities using landed properties as the bait.
Sometimes also, the situation may be totally unintentional or out of ignorance of the vendor and/or agent. It is as deadly if it ends badly as the one started with intention to defraud.
The pepetrators could be individuals, corporate or even government officials. www.allafrica.com published an article recently, where the Federal Capital Territory accused both the Nigeria Prison Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps of their alleged involvement in the sale of land in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory without following due and authorized process.
This may sound like tales from the fantasy Island, but the fact is, some government officials do collude with some dubious stakeholders in the real sector business to frustrate an aspiring investor on land.
So what is the way out of land dispute ? If you are really interested in obtaining genuine documents, do involve a lawyer or professional real estate firms to conduct discreet investigations on any land before you decided to buy.
Yes, it will cost you extra since you need to pay for their services.
But, let me be realistic with you, it is better to pay extra than getting yourself involved in land dispute by falling into the hands of fraudsters after paying fortunes to buy a land.
More so, any professional’s fee can be negotiated.
Avoid landed transactions that have no documents whatsoever on them except you are able to prove claims from your own reliable and independent source(s.
Most of the time if it’s a genuine land, the agent or land owner will most likely be willing to give you the Photostat copies of the documents, without pressure on payment.
This will save you from avoidable land dispute.
2. NEGATIVE REPORT FROM THE LAND REGISTRY OR YOUR INDEPENDENT DUE DILIGENCE
If you come up with significant negative/contrary reports or findings from your independent investigations on the landed property, run.
Be very careful even if what you discovered to be contrary to what you were told is not so material to derail the continuation of the transaction.
Reason is, that may just be the little lie you have detected and there may be other bigger and materially misrepresenting deceptions to uncover later that indicate a land dispute.
I suggest you carry out some investigations yourself on the genuineness of the property apart from engaging the services of a professional to do that.
You may want to do the followings:
=> Check the registered copy of the Survey plan from the State’s Survey General’s office.
=> Carry out a search on the title from the State’s Land bureau. In each state in the country, there is the land bureau, whose business is to relate in matters concerning land in the state.
For example, the land Bureau for Lagos is located in Alausa, Ikeja. Land belonging to the Federal Government all over the Federation are under the charge of the concerned ministry.
To obtain your report on any land in Lagos state for example, obtain the land verification form for N5000, fill the form, attach the documents obtained from the agent or land owner and submit.
=> Be a site without the vendor or his/her agent to ask people around the property questions as to the ownership of the land and if there has been or currently is any tussle on the land to their knowledge.
These among many other things will help you with your finding.