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How To Settle Property Disputes In Lagos

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How to settle property disputes in Lagos

Property disputes can be very stressful, especially in Lagos, where the Lagos State Government, led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has made it clear that all civil matters related to the ownership of a property should be brought to the appropriate government agencies, like a property dispute mediator or the police station.

When settling property disputes in Lagos, knowing and using your legal rights and following the rules are important. This helps you reach a peaceful agreement and avoid big financial losses.

Overview of Property Disputes in Lagos

Lagos has a legal system that protects the rights of its property owners, based on the Nigerian Land Use Act of 1979. Lagos has many ways to settle property disputes, such as settling out of court or taking the case to the city’s multi-door courthouse or civil court.

Before taking any legal action, we recommend seeking the advice of an experienced lawyer who can guide you through this process and help you efficiently settle your dispute. If needed, Lagos also has commercial courts that deal with business and commercial disputes.

What Is a Property Dispute?

Property disputes are disagreements between two or more parties with assertions about a piece of land or property. These claims may be based on business relationships, contract agreements, deeds, wills, family ties, government agencies, and urban development. 
A property dispute can vary in severity, resulting in drastic financial and personal implications. In some instances, opposing parties involved need access to justice and engage in a resolution process that requires the help of government agencies with expertise in economics and legal matters regarding real estate, such as urban development. 
As such, a property dispute has effects beyond any particular person or organization and extends its ramifications to social, economic, and financial institutions, impacting everyone’s life somehow.

Types Of Property Dispute

Property disputes can take many forms and can arise in different contexts, such as:

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Land Dispute

A land dispute arises when two parties hold conflicting claims to a certain piece of property, laying some form of claim to it; they may dispute the lines of boundaries or other title issues.

Construction Dispute

Construction disputes are common civil matters that arise when one party is contracted to build something but becomes dissatisfied with the payment terms or the quality of the work.

A good example is a contractor being asked to pay extra fees not specified in the contract. This could make the project take longer, even though the budget and schedule were already set. 

Title Disputes

This type of dispute arises when two or more parties have conflicting claims on the ownership of a piece of land. These disputes can be complex and may require an in-depth investigation into records and deeds to resolve.

Succession Dispute

Succession disputes are disagreements between those with a claim to an inheritance. Most of the time, these fights involve property, money, or personal items.

Family Dispute

Family disputes happen when members of the same family have conflicting interests regarding the property they share. They can also occur when an individual has been excluded from an inheritance.

Commercial Dispute

Commercial property disputes involve disagreements between parties related to business activity. An excerpt from Lexology by Abayomi Alagbada, Folahan Adebayo, and Funke Agbor describes commercial property disputes and litigations in Nigeria.

These legal documents tell us a lot about how different kinds of property disputes can be settled in the country.

Causes of Property Disputes In Lagos

Several factors are responsible for property disputes in Lagos. These include:

Lack of Clear Title Documents or Deeds for a Property

Property disputes can occur in some cases because an individual does not have a clear title deed to their property or the boundaries are not clearly defined.

Forged Documents

In other cases, individuals may attempt to forge documents to gain control of another person’s land or property. This is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police.

Misunderstanding of Agreements or Laws

Misunderstandings can occur if individuals are unfamiliar with Lagos’s property rights laws and regulations. It can lead to disputes between parties over their respective rights.

Inaccurate or Incomplete Property Records

When property records are inaccurate or incomplete, it can lead to arguments over who owns the property, making it harder for the courts to settle a dispute.

Failure to keep up with maintenance and upkeep obligations

Keeping up with maintenance and upkeep obligations may lead to disputes over the use or ownership of a property.

Unresolved Boundary Dispute

Boundary disputes may remain unresolved for a long time, leading to disagreements between parties about their respective rights and responsibilities.

Understanding Your Rights as a Property Owner In Lagos

Regardless of the type of property dispute you are facing, understanding your rights and responsibilities as a property owner in Lagos is essential. The Nigerian Land Use Act of 1979 provides clear guidelines for resolving disputes that may arise concerning the ownership or use of land.

Additionally, it is important to consult an experienced lawyer if you are considering legal action. An experienced lawyer can provide valuable advice and representation in court to help protect your rights as a property owner.

Nigerian Land Use Act and Other Relevant Laws

The Nigerian Land Use Act of 1979 governs the right to own and possess land in Lagos. More so, other laws provide additional guidance on property rights. These include:

The National Housing Policy of 1997

This policy sets out rules and regulations for land use for housing development.

The Land Surveyors Act of 1968

This Act regulates the profession of land surveyors in Nigeria and outlines their responsibilities for measuring and recording boundaries between properties.

The Nigerian Land Registration Act of 2004

This law governs the registration and transfer of title to land in Nigeria.

The Real Property Law

This law provides detailed guidance on the rights and responsibilities of property owners in Lagos.

The Nigerian Tenants Act of 2018

This Act outlines the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords in Nigeria, including dispute resolution procedures.

Understanding Title Deeds and Other Important Documents

Understanding title deeds and other important documents is essential when resolving Lagos property disputes. The National Housing Policy of 1997 stipulates that all land must be registered with the state and that title deeds should be issued for each transaction.

Title deeds are important as they provide proof of ownership and clarify property boundaries. It is important to ensure that all title deeds and other documents related to the property are up-to-date and accurate.

Legal action is sometimes necessary to resolve a property dispute. Depending on the nature of the dispute, this may involve a civil lawsuit or an application to the High Court. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer before taking any legal action.

What Is Multi-Door Courthouse

The Multi-Door Courthouse (MDC) is a dispute resolution centre located in Lagos. The MDC provides access to alternative and non-adversarial forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, negotiation, and conciliation. 

This system is designed to provide access to justice in a timely and cost-effective manner while avoiding the delays commonly associated with litigation. An example is the Lagos multi-door courthouse.

 Lagos State Multi-Door Courthouse Law

The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse Law was passed in 2019. This law outlines the procedures for dispute resolution and provides parties with access to mediation services. This law aims to provide a cost-effective and timely way to resolve disputes without going through long and expensive court proceedings.

 Resolving Property Disputes In Lagos

Resolving property disputes in Lagos can be a complicated process. Fortunately, many tools are available that aid amicable settlement without having to take legal action. These include:

Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration services provide an alternative to going to court by allowing the involved parties to agree without needing a judge or jury.


Negotiation involves direct communication between all parties to agree on resolving the dispute. You can do it with or without the assistance of a professional mediator.

Property Dispute Resolution Centres

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve a property dispute by attending a Property Dispute Resolution Centre in Lagos. These centres provide a forum for parties to discuss their disagreements and reach an agreement that leads to an amicable settlement without needing legal action.


If all other attempts at resolving the dispute are unsuccessful, either of the parties may resort to taking legal action. This means filing a lawsuit in court and letting the judge or jury decide what will happen.

Knowing When To Seek Legal Advice

When it comes to property disputes, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights as a property owner and provide valuable guidance on the best course of action for resolving the dispute without much stress or going through physical fights that can lead to personal injuries or untimely death.

It is also important to remember that legal action should only be taken as a last resort when all other alternative dispute resolution centres have been unsuccessful.

Family Dispute Over Properties In Lagos

Family disputes over properties in Lagos can be particularly difficult to resolve. In some cases, these disputes may arise due to a misunderstanding or dispute between family members concerning the ownership or use of a property.

In such cases, it is recommended that all parties involved seek legal advice to ensure that their rights and responsibilities are properly understood and protected. A lawyer can help guide the best course of the dispute resolution process and may be able to help negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Property Dispute?

A property dispute is a disagreement between two or more people concerning land ownership, use, possession, and control. Property disputes can involve boundary, title, easement, lease, and trespass disputes.

What Are The Causes Of Property Dispute In Lagos

The causes of property disputes in Lagos include lack of clear title documents or deeds for a property, forged documents, a misunderstanding of agreements or laws, inaccurate or incomplete property records, failure to keep up with maintenance and upkeep obligations, and unresolved boundary disputes.

What Is The Nigerian Land Use Act?

The Nigerian Land Use Act of 1979 is a law that governs the right to own and possesses land in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. This law seeks to protect people’s right to own and possess land while providing a framework for resolving disputes concerning the ownership or use of land.

What Is the Multi-Door Courthouse System, and How Does It Help Resolve Property Disputes?

The Multi-Door Courthouse (MDC) system is a dispute resolution centre located in Lagos. This system provides access to alternative and non-adversarial forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, negotiation, and conciliation.

What Are Some Strategies for Resolution of Dispute in Lagos?

When resolving property disputes in Lagos, there are a few options available. These include attempting to reach an out-of-court settlement through negotiation or mediation services


Property disputes can be complex and difficult without a good legal framework and representation. In Lagos, there are several laws about property rights and other ways to settle disputes, like mediation and arbitration.

People in a property dispute need to know their legal rights and responsibilities and talk to an experienced lawyer if they consider going to court. With the right assistance, resolving a property dispute without going to court is possible.

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