A Deed of Assignment is an important legal land document that records a sale of land and transfers interest and title in real property from one party to another starting from the commencement date stipulated in the document. It is a document usually demanded by the buyer of the real property at the conclusion of a property transaction and for it to be valid and binding on parties to the transaction; it must contain certain information. A deed of assignment is considered a must for the transaction of ownership in land.
The main purpose of a deed of assignment is to transfer an interest or assign the title of property from the seller (an assignor) to a new buyer called (the Assignee). For a deed of assignment to fit the above purpose, it must contain certain details or particulars that will be briefly discussed below:
- Particulars of the parties to the transaction (names, address, status).
- Date of transfer of ownership of the property from the vendor to the purchaser.
- Nature of assignor's (vendors) title.
- The full description/particulars of the property with fittings & fixtures where applicable.
- History of the property being transferred from the first time it was acquired to the current time of sale, including documents it previously had to date.
- Details of a verifiable document that the property possesses.
- The consideration paid in respect of the property transaction (purchase price) and the willingness of the vendor to accept the price paid for the property.
- The nature of the transaction and the capacity of the assignor (vendor).
- Covenants both parties to the transaction undertake to fulfil.
- Signature of the parties and that of the witnesses to the transaction.
- Survey plan.
- Details of the Legal practitioner who prepared the deed.
- Section for the Governor's consent to be signed and verified.
The importance of a deed of assignment cannot be overemphasized, as it is a formal contract duly entered and executed between two parties to a real property transaction, to transfer all the unexpired residue of land to the other party. It contains not only the basic requirements but goes further to include detailed terms of what the parties to the transaction have agreed upon.
It is important that a deed of assignment is drafted by a property lawyer, to ensure that the best interests of the parties to the transaction are duly represented. The deed of assignment is usually drafted by the assignee's legal practitioner and given to the assignor (vendor) for vetting and execution. Where the property falls within an estate, the assignor's legal practitioner may prepare the deed for the assignee's lawyer to review.
Another great importance of a deed of assignment is that it serves as a valid root of title to the land. It acts as valid evidence of transfer, especially where there is a contention as to the validity of the land or where a third party tries to claim ownership of the same land.
It is also important that when the deed of assignment has been exchanged between the parties to the transaction, it is recorded or registered with the appropriate land registry where the land is situated for perfection purposes. Perfection comes at the post-completion stage which involves obtaining the governor's consent, stamping of the deed of assignment, and finally, registration of the document to show legal proof that the property has exchanged hands and also to create public awareness that the property belongs to a new owner.
A deed of assignment is important in any land transaction because it acts as the main document between the vendor and the purchaser to show that all negotiations, investigations, and other necessary due diligence have been done; the purchase price has been paid; other necessary conditions have been fulfilled by the parties to the transaction and the vendor has transferred all his rights in the property to the purchaser.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.