A deed is a signed legal document that transfers ownership of an asset to a new owner. Deeds are most commonly used to transfer ownership of property or vehicles between persons.
The purpose of a deed is to transfer a title, the legal ownership of a property or asset, from one person or company to another.
A deed however is not a title in itself. It is simply the mechanism to transfer a title. A deed must be written, notarized and entered into public records. Failure to do so, it will be subject to legal challenges.
Types of Deeds
There 6 types of deeds in real estate and land transactions. They are as follows;
- Quitclaim Deed: Sometimes called quick claim deeds are often used to transfer property among family members to move property into living trusts and to remedy title errors. Such deeds do not verify a grantor’s ownership of the property. Quitclaim deeds do not guarantee there are no title defects such as tax liens or easements.
- Grant Deed: Also known as a special warranty deed or a limited warranty deed only warrants the period under which the seller owned the property. If the buyer faced a title claim from someone who had a lien on the property under an earlier owner, the buyer would have to handle the matter on their own and would have no recourse against the seller.
- General Warranty Deed: A general warranty deed is the most common type of deed used to transfer fee simple ownership of a property. It does confirm a grantor’s ownership and a legal right to sell. It also offers covenant against encumbrances (no tax liens or easements that can be claimed by neighbors), covenant of quiet enjoyment (assurance of good title that is superior to anyone else’s title claims), covenant of further assurance (stating that the seller will take whatever steps are needed to clear title if needed), covenant of warranty forever (assuring that these assurances will endure for as long as the homeowner owns the property). Most crucially, it offers a covenant of seisin, which means it guarantees that the full title is being transferred from grantor to grantee.
- Deed of Trust: This type of deed is used in home loans and is signed among three parties, the lender (beneficiary), borrower (trustor) and the third party (trustee). During the course of the loan, the trustor transfers the title of the property to the trustee and the trustee holds the title until the trustor has fully paid off their lender.
- Mortgage Deed: A mortgage deed functions like a deed of trust with one key difference. This type of deed features only two parties, a lender and a borrower. Title in the property is split evenly between the lender and the borrower until the mortgage is paid in full.
- Bargain and Sale Deed: This type of deed accompanies homes sold at foreclosure. This type of deed transfers title to the new owner, but it does not warrant against encumbrances. Homeowners who purchase a foreclosed home with a bargain and sale deed may encounter tax liens, problematic easements or third-party claims to the title. To minimize risks that come with a bargain and sale deed, some buyers perform a title search, purchase title insurance and contract a real estate attorney before purchasing a foreclosed home.
Applications to convert various deeds into land certificates are addressed to the head of the provincial land service for the area where the property is situate. Such application may concern;
- Deeds of acquisition of land entered in the Grundbuch;
- Deeds of lands acquired under the transcription system;
- Final allocation orders for a grant of state lands;
- Final judgments to establish or to transfer real property rights;
- Agreements between Africans made under the law of 27 June 1961 concerning deeds executed and authenticated by a notary.
Deeds of acquisition of freehold lands
They shall be stamped and contain the following information;
- Full name of applicant, date and place of birth, parentage, profession, domicile, family status;
- All information required to identify the property;
- Any transfers, transaction, leases, mortgages and other liability which encumber the property etc.
Deeds in dispute
In the event of dispute about the boundaries of property, the surveyors shall mark out the piece of land in dispute on the plan. If it concerns state lands, the dispute shall be brought before the Minister in charge of Lands who shall make a final decision. If it concerns private property the dispute shall be brought before the appropriate court.
Duties of the Land Conservator before converting Deeds into Land Certificates
In line with Article 31 of Decree No. 2005/481 of 16th December 2005 to amend and supplement some provisions of Decree No. 76/165 of April 1976 to establish the conditions for obtaining land certificates in Cameroon, the land conservator shall be responsible for verifying the documents lodged and further make sure:
- Of the identity and capacity of the parties mentioned in the deed, and
- Of the availability of the property.
Conversion of Certificates of Occupancy into Land Certificates
Applications for conversion of certificates of occupancy into land certificates should further be accompanied by a valuation report assessing the development of the land and a certificate from the Department of Land that all rentals and dues have been paid.
If the dues paid up at the date of the application for conversion are less than the official price of state lands, the applicant shall be obliged to pay the difference.