The certificate of occupancy versus the Deed of Sublease; What the house owner should know (2)


Continued from last edition…

By AKHIGBE Dominic M

TUE, JUNE 27 2017-This is the scenario; the land upon which a portion was excised and built for the client has a Global Certificate of Occupancy which itself is a form of “LEASE” From the governor of the state for 99 years in line with the Land Use Act of 1982. In Law; no one gives what he does not have. Therefore; it would be trite for the developer to have given a Certificate of Occupancy from a Certificate of Occupancy. This threw up a lot of issues between the Client and the Property developer such that some parts of the deal were called off as a result. The counsel successfully registered it in the mind of the client that the reason for a Deed of Sublease was very questionable.

In his further opinion; a Deed of Sublease is as good as Rental Agreement which in his evaluation is akin to making his client a Tenant as against an owner. Since then, a lot of needless energies has been dissipated in pursuing legally unrealizable reliefs. This is the result of the very shallow knowledge of the Learned friend in Property generally and Conveyances specifically. It saves a lot of energy when a round peg is put in the round hole. I became very helpless in the circumstance since I found myself not in a position to assert certain issues.

The Client, who lives offshore and related to me from a sensitive angle has told me in very clear terms many more times than once that this lawyer never deceived her. She said he was the best and most honest lawyer she ever met. I have no problems with that. The truth is; the ignorance of this counsel in this field has tended to rubbish genuine intentions and created avoidable tempers. In view of this very unfortunate experience and in response to the series of private enquiries from readers; I have decided to present the distinctions between the Certificate of Occupancy and the Deed of Sublease in the simplest manner within my reach.

Kindly take a look at the short table below; though its not exhaustive, but its highly informative and it is intended to show the relevance and the slight differences between the Certificate of Occupancy and the Deed of Sublease:


CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY                                            DEED OF SUBLEASE

Issued by the Governor pursuant to the Land Use Act of 1978. Given by a Holder of Certificate of Occupancy who decides to excise a part of the property to a new owner & the new holder goes to perfect (register) it at Lands in the State Registry for effect.
Valid for 99 years from issuance date Valid for the unexpired period of the certificate of occupancy which forms the Root Title
Renewable after 99 years by the governor on terms. Renewable upon the renewal of the root title (the C of O) on terms
Transferable by a Deed Transferable by a Deed


From the foregoing, you can see that the Deed of Sublease is not a lesser title than the Certificate of Occupancy. It is share ignorance to insist that an individual or body corporate can originate a Certificate of Occupancy from a Global Certificate of Occupancy. Next time you need to buy that property or process that Housing document, ensure you get only an expert whose hands are on deck in the field of Conveyances and Perfection. At this; you would have saved yourself needless heart ache!

Akhigbe Dominic.M. Esq., /Property Law Expert/CEO, H.I.E Properties & Homes Ltd/SENIOR STRATEGIC PARTNER, PropertyLogic Incorporated/Seasoned Business Coach/Columnist of The BusinessDay/ContributingEditor, <>*

DCSL 90X780