Deed of Assignment: Avoid Delays and Fraud

What is deed of assignment
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Imagine buying a house or land in Nigeria. Congratulations! But to truly own that house, you need a legal document called a Deed of Assignment. This article explains what it is and how to spot a fake one.

What is a Deed of Assignment?

A deed of assignment, also known as a deed of transfer is the transfer of ownership of a property from one party (the Assignor) to another (the Assignee). It essentially acts as a record that the Assignee now owns the property, and the Assignor no longer has any claim to it.

See>>>  What to Do After Buying Land in Nigeria

Why is it Important?

Importance Deed of Assignment?

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Having a Deed of Assignment is essential for a few reasons:

  • Solidifies Ownership Transfer: This document goes beyond a simple sales agreement. It explicitly outlines the transfer of ownership, including details of the property and the agreed-upon sale price. Having this documented record minimizes the risk of future disputes and ensures both parties are held accountable to the agreed terms.
  • Provides Legal Reassurance: The Deed of Assignment serves as a legal safeguard in case of disagreements or unforeseen circumstances. If a dispute arises regarding the sale or ownership rights, the Deed provides a clear framework for resolving the issue. In the unfortunate event that legal action becomes necessary, the Deed serves as a critical piece of evidence in court.
  • Establishes Proof of Ownership: The Assignee, the new owner, receives a documented record of their ownership. This record serves as verifiable proof in case their ownership is ever contested. They can present the Deed of Assignment as official documentation to relevant authorities, such as when applying for permits or seeking mortgage loans for the property.
  • Public Record of Ownership: Deed of Assignment are typically registered with the local land registry. This benefits both the buyer and seller by providing transparency and reducing the likelihood of fraudulent claims on the property.

See>>> Difference Between Contract of Sale and Deed of Transfer

Cost

cost of deed of assignment

The fees associated with acquiring a Deed of Assignment in Nigeria can fluctuate depending on the value of the property and the lawyer’s experience. Generally, lawyers charge between 5% and 10% of the property’s sale price to handle the Deed of Assignment and other related documents.

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For illustration purposes, imagine you’re purchasing a property for N40,000,000. In this scenario, you could anticipate lawyer fees ranging from N2,000,000 (5%) to N4,000,000 (10%). Remember, this is just an example, and the actual cost can vary based on your specific situation.

Features

A Deed of Assignment typically contains several key elements to effectively transfer ownership and establish a clear record of the transaction. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll usually find in one:

1. Parties Involved:

  • Identification of Assignor (Seller) and Assignee (Buyer): This includes their full names, addresses, and any relevant legal designations.

2. Property Details:

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  • Comprehensive Description: A detailed description of the property being transferred, including its location, size, plot number (if applicable), and any unique features. In some cases, this may also include a legal description referencing a plot map or survey.
  • Fixtures and Fittings: An outline of any fixtures and fittings that are included in the sale, This might encompass built-in appliances, plumbing fixtures, or other permanent attachments.

3. Transfer Details:

  • Date of Transfer: The specific date on which ownership of the property is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer.
  • Consideration (Purchase Price): The agreed-upon purchase price for the property.
  • Assignor’s Title: A description of how the seller acquired ownership of the property. This might reference a previous Deed of Assignment or another legal document.

4. Covenants (Agreements):

  • Obligations of Assignor and Assignee: These sections may outline any specific promises or guarantees made by either party. For instance, the seller may agree to ensure the property is free from outstanding claims or liens.

5. Signatures and Verification:

  • Signatures of Parties and Witnesses: The Deed should be signed by both the Assignor and Assignee, along with signatures from witnesses who observed the signing process.
  • Lawyer Information (Optional): In some cases, the Deed may include details of the lawyer who prepared the document.

6. Additional Elements

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  • Survey Plan: Some jurisdictions may require a copy of the property’s official survey plan to be attached to the Deed.
  • Governor’s Consent (Specific to some locations): In certain regions, there may be a requirement for a Governor’s signature or stamp on the Deed for it to be valid.

How To Obtain a Deed of Assignment in Nigeria

How To Obtain a Deed of Assignment in Nigeria

The process for obtaining a Deed of Assignment in Nigeria can differ slightly depending on whether you’re buying from a real estate firm or an individual seller. Here’s a breakdown of the typical steps involved:

General Process:

1. Consult a Lawyer: This is an essential first step, regardless of who you’re buying from. A qualified real estate lawyer in Nigeria can ensure your Deed of Assignment is legally sound, protects your interests, and complies with all relevant regulations. They can also guide you through the entire process.

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2. Gather Necessary Documents: Your lawyer will advise on the specific documents needed, but these might typically include:

  • Proof of ownership for the seller (Assignor) – This could be a Certificate of Occupancy or another legal document.
  • Sale agreement between buyer (Assignee) and seller – This outlines the agreed-upon terms of the sale.
  • Property Details and Survey Plan – A detailed description of the property and its official survey plan.
  • Identity documents for all parties involved – This includes IDs for the buyer, seller, and any witnesses.

3. Lawyer Drafts the Deed: Based on the agreed-upon terms and the provided documents, your lawyer will draft the Deed of Assignment.

4. Review and Signature: Once drafted, both the buyer and seller, along with their lawyers and witnesses, will carefully review the Deed of Assignment before signing. This ensures everyone understands and agrees to the contents.

Specific Scenarios:

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  • Buying from a Real Estate Firm: In this case, the real estate firm will likely handle the preparation of the Deed of Assignment, following the steps mentioned above. They may have in-house legal counsel or collaborate with an external lawyer to ensure the Deed is accurate and meets legal requirements.

  • Buying from an Individual Seller: Here, the responsibility of obtaining the Deed of Assignment falls on you, the buyer. Your lawyer will play a vital role in drafting and finalizing the Deed. It’s still recommended for the seller to consult with their own lawyer to review the document before signing.

See>>> How To Verify Land Titles and Registration In Nigeria

How to Spot a Fake Deed of Assignment?

How to Spot a Fake Deed of Assignment?

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Unfortunately, there are fake Deeds out there. Here’s how to be cautious:

1. Use a Lawyer

A lawyer experienced in property law can verify the Deed’s authenticity. They’ll check things like:

  • Parties Involved: Are the names and details of the seller and buyer correct?
  • Description: Does the Deed accurately describe the property (size, location, etc.)?
  • Signatures: Are the signatures of both parties and witnesses genuine?
  • Registration: Is the Deed registered with the relevant government land registry?

2. Look for Red Flags

Be wary of Deeds with:

  • Typos or grammatical errors
  • Inconsistent information
  • Missing signatures or witnesses
  • Signs of tampering or damage

3. State Land Registry

Every state in Nigeria has a land registry, you can go there and confirm if it is fake or original.

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T round up, a Deed of Assignment/Transfer is a crucial legal document for solidifying ownership transfer of real estate. It serves as indisputable proof of the transaction and protects both the buyer and seller.

Don’t settle for uncertainty! Having a properly drafted Deed of Assignment ensures a smooth handover and safeguards your rights. Conversely, even a genuine deed can be susceptible to forgery. For guaranteed authenticity, or if you require assistance creating a watertight Deed of Assignment/Transfer, contact us today. Our legal expertise can help you navigate this vital step in property ownership.

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