LAND TITLE REGISTRATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON PROPERTY INVESTMENTS IN NIGERIA
Israel S. Udoka
Department of Estate Management
Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene
This research aims at studying the implications of registration of land titles on property investments. The research adopts a descriptive design, with the data mainly obtained from secondary sources. The result shows that registration of land title over which property investment takes place reduces information asymmetries in that both parties gain access to the same information. The buyer, receiving state guarantees about the authenticity of the registered information on land, thereby reducing land transaction costs, speeds up the process of land acquisition for investors and removing landownership uncertainty. Other results from the research indicated that land registration offers the land owners access to cheaper and additional medium or long term credit through mortgage; speedy and smooth land transaction; security of property investment in the case of overriding public interest which may be exercised by the state, and makes conveyance for property investment simpler thereby promoting socio-economic development. However, this research recommends that any investor who wants to go into real estate should, at most, consider obtaining a legal title to his/her land through proper land registration.
Keywords: Land, registration, instrument, property investment.
Land title is defined as the legal right of a land owner and present as a document which shows that one has such a title. Land title refers to the documentary evidence of the ownership of a given plot of land to an individual or group. This documentary evidence is called Certificate of Title. Title to land is often insured by a state or municipal government to identify the owner or owners of real property. Land title comes as a result of land registration. Titles to land are means to formalize land ownership rights. Dixon (2002) describes it as land registered if the title to it (which for convenience can be thought of as a right of ownership) is recorded in a register maintained by a Land Registry of a country. Land Registration or title registration is carried out in order to make claims to land enforceable and contract on land titles sticks (Rosenberg and Birdzell, 1986).
Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of titles, facilitates transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal. According to Udechukwu (2006), the basic idea behind title registration is to confer on every owner or purchaser a title guaranteed by the state. It is believed to make conveyance simple, cheap, speedy and reliable by obviating most of the difficulties and hazards to which a purchaser of land is usually exposed under the system of unregistered conveyance. The law regulating registration of land instrument in Nigeria is the Land Registration Act No. 36 of 1924. This is the parent Act enacted for the whole country, which is adopted and re-enacted in some state under different names. A common feature of land registration in Nigeria is the registration of any instrument executed before or after the commencement of the Act. In order to facilitate registration, the law establishes in every state, land registry under a land registrar charged with the responsibilities of registering instruments affecting land in the state and to keep the books the of the registration and files relating to each plot.