How to obtain certificate of occupancy

How to obtain Certificate of Occupancy – Buying properties in Nigeria could come with a number of challenges, one may fall into the wrong hands if not managed properly.

How to obtain certificate of occupancy

Certificate of Occupancy – Buying properties in Nigeria could come with a number of challenges, one may fall into the wrong hands if not managed properly.

Despite obtaining a land or property, there’s a need to cement the ownership of such property as recommended by the state government in the land use Act of 1978.

While the process of taking due ownership could be enormous, it can still be carried out with little stress by following simple steps.


How to obtain certificate of occupancy

What is Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

The Certificate of Occupancy or C of O as usually referred is a land title document issued to land owners by the government which serves as a legal proof for laying claim or ownership of such land, it’s very fundamental and comes along with complementary documents like survey plan and the deed of assignment as stated.

The idea is that with the certificate of occupancy it can duly recognized or give you the right access as a true owner of a property in the eyes of the law.

Benefits of having a Certificate of Occupancy

  • The government could not reposes or revoke your rights to ownership of such land without adequate compensation
  • C of O can be used as a collateral in case you wish to collect a loan from a commercial bank/credit institution
  • With a C of O in place, it increases the value of your land
  • Multiple persons cannot claim ownership to your land since you have been duly and rightly identified as the true owner of such land in accordance with the provisions of the law

Items Of A Certificate Of Occupancy

Here you will get to understand certain details found in the C of O, these include

  • Location of the land in question
  • Plot number as a unique identity for each plot
  • Survey plan/demography of the plat
  • Lease term of such plot
  • Land use purpose
  • C of O number
  • File Number
  • Plot size
  • Initial annual ground rent fees
  • Terms and condition

Right Of Occupancy

Right of Occupancy is a lesser form of Certificate of Occupancy.

This happens in the sense that R of O does not have a strong legal backing like the C of O.

That said the R of O is a weaker title that having only it without being backed with the C of O could see you loss such ownership without compensation should the state government wish to use or have a need for such land.

Recall, in the land use Act of 1978, it states that the state government is vested with the express power to revoke ownership of a land if it deems it necessary and suitable for a particular project.

The Act also states that the right of a land ownership shall cease to exist after ninety nine years.

In title, a land with a C of O is usually more expensive than one with just Right of Ownership, location of such land additionally could affect its price.

Requirements for a Certificate of Occupancy

The state government will require the following to issue a C of O

  • Formal letter from you addressed to the Executive Secretary
  • Document evidencing income tax payment
  • Current development levy
  • A survey plan of the land in question
  • A standard allocation form with the accompanying receipt
  • Four passport photographs with a white background, and All payment receipts of Land charges and vital information form.

How to get a Certificate of Occupancy

You can get your C of O with the state government through the department of land and housing matters.

During this process you are required to pay some title fees, accompanied by necessary documents as deemed necessary by the department of land and housing affairs in the state.

Additionally, you could obtain a C of O through property and ownership exchange having purchased a land that has been duly registered for the Certificate of Occupancy, thereafter you can proceed to change the ownership title.

How much is the Certificate of Occupancy?

To get a C of O, the cost differs across different states of the federation.

However, the cost is measured against the actual fair market value of the land.In some states, the cost is calculated per square meter of such land, while the fee is dependent on the phase of the city the land is located.

Other document you should get on acquiring a land

  • Deed of assignment conveyance
  • Deed of transfer
  • Deed of gift
  • Vesting orders and assents this is necessary where ownership of a property has changed hands several times.


While C of O could have you lose a land to the state government without compensation,

  • documents like deed of assignment,
  • deed of transfer, deed of gift, and vesting orders are very essential in authenticating the true ownership of such land in fairness.

However, the process of acquiring these documents differ in various states.

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