‘You Can Loss Your Property Despite Having Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) in Lagos’ -By Dennis Isong

A Demolished Property

Owning property is often considered a significant investment, providing stability and security for individuals and families. In Lagos, Nigeria, obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) is an important step in establishing legal ownership and protecting one’s property rights. 

However, despite having this document, there are various circumstances under which property owners can still lose their assets. Understanding these factors is essential for safeguarding property interests in Lagos.

1. Inheritance Issues: In some cases, property disputes arise due to inheritance conflicts. Even with a valid CofO, if there are competing claims to the property among family members or beneficiaries, legal battles can ensue, leading to potential loss of the property.

2. Land Grabbing And Encroachment: One of the prevalent issues in Lagos is land grabbing, where individuals or groups illegally seize land, often with the intent to sell or develop it. Property owners may find themselves facing encroachment on their land, despite possessing a CofO. Resolving these disputes can be lengthy and costly, sometimes resulting in the loss of the property.

3. Government Acquisition And Development Projects: Government authorities in Lagos occasionally acquire land for public projects such as road construction, urban development, or infrastructure expansion. While compensation is usually provided to affected property owners, the process can be contentious, and some may feel inadequately compensated for their loss.

4. Fraudulent Transactions:  Property fraud is a significant concern in Lagos, where unscrupulous individuals may forge CofO documents or engage in fraudulent sales transactions. Despite possessing what appears to be a valid CofO, property owners may later discover that their title is illegitimate, resulting in the loss of their property investment.

5. Non-Compliance With Regulations: Failure to comply with building regulations, zoning laws, or environmental standards can lead to the government revoking a property’s CofO or imposing fines and penalties. This could ultimately result in the loss of the property if the violations are not rectified within a specified timeframe.

6. Debts And Liens: Property owners who default on mortgage payments or fail to settle other financial obligations may risk losing their properties through foreclosure or enforcement of liens by creditors. Even with a CofO, property rights can be forfeited if debts are not promptly addressed.

7. Neglect and Abandonment:  Neglecting to maintain or utilize a property can also result in its loss, as it may become subject to government acquisition or appropriation due to abandonment. Property owners must actively manage and monitor their assets to prevent such occurrences.

To mitigate the risk of losing property despite holding a CofO in Lagos, property owners should take proactive measures:

– Regularly monitor and inspect the property to detect any encroachment or unauthorized activity.

– Seek legal advice and assistance to resolve property disputes or inheritance issues promptly.

– Verify the authenticity of CofO documents and conduct due diligence before purchasing property.

– Stay informed about government regulations and compliance requirements to avoid penalties and revocation of property titles.

– Maintain open communication with relevant authorities and address any concerns or violations promptly.

– Investing in title insurance can provide an added layer of protection for property owners. Title insurance policies can safeguard against losses resulting from undiscovered title defects, fraud, or disputes, providing financial compensation and legal support in case of a property-related issue.

While a Certificate of Occupancy is a vital legal document for establishing property ownership in Lagos, it does not guarantee immunity from potential risks and challenges. Property owners must remain vigilant, informed, and proactive in protecting their interests to prevent the unfortunate loss of their assets.

Dennis Isong is a Top Realtor in Lagos. He Helps Nigerians in Diaspora to Own Property In Lagos Nigeria STRESS-FREE. For Questions WhatsApp/Call 2348164741041