REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Environmental liability

Is the buyer of a real estate asset in this country responsible for soil pollution or contamination of the building even if it did not cause the pollution or contamination?



The law requires for an environmental impact assessment to be carried out by professionals and a report issued and filed with the relevant town planning and building control agency of the state. The nature of the building construction or development determines whether the environment assessment report is required (Environmental Impact Assessment Act, 1992 and Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act No. 88, 1992). This is to ensure that the potential environmental hazards posed by a proposed building development are identified prior to construction and adequate mitigation actions are put in place.

Generally, the owner, tenants and occupiers of property are directly responsible for the environmental sanitation of their premises and it is not an excuse that the pollution or contamination was caused by another person. The federal and state laws impose liability for causing pollution or contamination and impose liability for non-compliance by owners of buildings.

The buyer or owner of real estate has a responsibility for the environment sanitation of the property but will not be liable for any offence where the pollution or contamination to the property is caused by a third party’s action if the owner is not contributory thereto.