Property 101

Wow I feel like I have neglected Property Law Practice whereas, (pun intended) it was one of my favourite courses in Law School. The first thing anyone who wants to succeed in property law practice needs, is an understanding of the deed. You find it almost everywhere you turn in property law.

So the deed has some non-negotiables:

Writing: This one is pretty obvious, there’s no way you are transferring any form of right in land without putting in writing and often times you have to take it a step further and make it a deed

Signature: of the person to be bound, at least; at the very least. But ideally all parties sign. When the persons involved in the transaction are all human, they all sign. When there is a corporation i.e. Part A Company, the seal of the company or organisation is to be witnessed by a director and the secretary or two directors; for a Part C Organisation witnesses are the chairman and the secretary. So, these persons will sign.

Seal: Ordinarily, every seal should be stamped whether by natural persons or not. However because of how clumsy that would seem and because I know you have never had an official seal in your life (I never have as well) and because of Section 169* of the Evidence Act, there is no need for natural persons to seal a deed. However companies must because they are not real people and we have to make sure fictitious creations are not being out up as parties. So don’t worry, you can spend that money you were saving to buy a seal, just in case you were.

*This section presumes the parties have affixed a seal where they append their signature

Property law Jargons

There are some words you’ll here flying around and it is nice to know what they are talking about:

Parties: Ever watched football, or any group sport? There are teams. Under the teams there may be several players but the players usually form one team. So in transactions, a party is a side. In a deed, it is a team, assignor(s) for instance signifies the one(s) transferring interest in land. They may be one million in number, may be a family, but they are one party. This will help so you don’t draft inelegantly. There may be 3 parties in some transactions**

Deed poll: No they are not coming to get you because you voted Buhari nor am I encouraging you to go and see the movie with Ryan Reynolds as a clumsy low life super hero, but this is a type of deed where only one person executes, no other party involved

Indenture: Opposite of the above, has nothing to do with teeth but is a deed where two parties sign

Delivery: An intricate process which is not merely signified by the act of physically handing over but heralds a significant moment in the transfer of title from one party to the other. Lol, too much grammar, this is when the parties agree the title would have actually been transferred. It may be when bank alert is received or hinged on a conditional act.  More on this subsequently.

Escrow: Sounds like a mafia name, or it’s just me? What if delivery above is subject to the occurrence of a particular thing or act? The delivery is in ESCROW. So until the act is performed the deed might be in the hand of the receiving party but it hasn’t been delivered.

Doctrine of Relation Back: When the act required for the conditional delivery is performed what is the date of delivery? If A and B agree that delivery date is 19th June subject to the perfection of title by B which he completes on 19th Dec, when is the delivery date? It is 19 June! It goes back to that agreed date #relationback

Execute: You guessed right, not about killing someone but it simply means signing the deed, done by both parties.

Perfection: When the deed goes through the three hurdles of Stamping, Governor’s Consent and Registration…Yup in that order.

Or and Ee: Not real words, but you have to know that this gets added to every transaction to indicate the parties. Or is the one doing the act, Ee is on the receiving end. Assignor/Assignee, Mortgagor/Mortgagee, Lessor/Lessee, Donor/Donee, etc.

That will be all for now, will update later.

So in what land transactions do you actually need a deed

  • Assignment
  • Mortgage
  • Lease of ABOVE 3 Years
  • Power of Attorney where power to execute a deed is conferred
  • Gift
  • Partition

**In mortgages we could have: mortgagor, mortgagee and surety




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