A deed in Cameroon is a signed legal document that transfers ownership of an asset to a new owner. Deeds in Cameroon are most commonly used to transfer ownership of property like a house or land between two persons. At the center of any transaction warranting the establishment of a deed in Cameroon is the duty of a notary public in Cameroon.

A deed is however not a title but the mechanism through which a title of ownership on a property is transferred.

The duty of a notary public in establishing a deed in Cameroon is pivotal for the various types of deeds;

  • A deed of conveyance: This is a contract in which the seller transfers all rights to the legal owner. The purchase of a property is not complete without a valid conveyance deed.
  • A 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.
  • A 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 a covenant against encumbrances (no tax liens or easements that can be claimed by neighbors), the covenant of quiet enjoyment (assurance of good title that is superior to anyone else’s title claims), the covenant of further assurance (stating that the seller will take whatever steps are needed to clear title if needed), the 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.
  • A 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.
  • Deed of Trust: This type of deed is used in home loans and is signed by three parties, the lender (beneficiary), the 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. The 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.

Duty of the Notary Public

  1. The capacity of the Parties: it is the duty of the notary public in Cameroon to ensure that parties to a deed actually have the capacity to engage in such transactions covered by the deed, or they are properly represented.
  2. Due diligence on property: it is the duty of the notary public in Cameroon to ensure that the property indeed exists and that it belongs to the person intending to sell the same to the buyer. Once that link between the property and the seller is not established, the notary public in Cameroon will not establish the deed.
  3. Due diligence on documents: it is the duty of the notary public in Cameroon to ensure that the property has genuine documents as to its ownership and existence.
  4. Witness the signing of Parties: the notary public in Cameroon has a duty to witness the signing of the parties to a deed transaction. This is to ensure that neither party is coerced into signing the document. Hence all the parties to the deed are to sign out of their free will.
  5. Certify the transaction with the seal: the seal of the notary public appears to be the last bus stop when it comes to authenticating the transaction. Hence he must ensure the regularity of the entire document before endorsing his signature and seal on the deed.
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