#HARDFACTS: Should Lagos State Government Register Real Estate Agencies?
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Should the Lagos State government register real estate agencies in the state? That is the question Sandra Ezekwesili asks on the Big Hardfacts. She adds that the state government has found out that there are 50,000 real estate agents registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Lagos wants to monitor what these agents are up to. One of the top issues is the constant fraud that occurs in the sector. Furthermore, government wants the agents to report every transaction they make so that it will know what exactly these housing agents or real estate agents are up to.” The office in charge of the registration is known as Lagos Real Estate Transaction Department.
Sandra explains what that means in basic terms: If you rent a new house, or as a landlord you get a new tenant, the estate agent that brought both the landlord and the tenant together must let government know about the transaction. The agent must also make sure that the proper taxes are paid.
Ufuoma Egbamuno, who sits with Sandra inside the 99.3 Nigeria Info studio relates a painful story of being duped by supposed real estate agents. He narrates his story on the Big Hardfacts.
He and his friend had anticipated to rent an apartment for N250,000 some 10 years ago in Lagos. He lost all the money because he paid a fake real estate agent. He left off pursuing the money and the agent because he and his friend couldn’t locate the agent and his phone number was switched off indefinitely. He is not alone as many people in Lagos have silently gone through the same experience without revealing their pain.
Responding to the issue, Dotun Bamigbola, Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, says that the problem is that there are so many people in the sector that are not yet identified. That is why cases of fraud abound in the sector.
He tells Sandra that regulation is required with the All-Comers, low-level entry situation experienced by experts in the sector. Even other professionals have come into the real estate sector business and they may not have done what is necessary enough to the level of what is expected of practitioners in the sector.
According to Bamigbola, an Association of Estate Agents has been established by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. “The members go through the same ethical training that members of the Institution go through all in the name of getting certified. They have come off better at what they do and they are offering value to the society.”
Before the show ends, Sandra opens the phone lines and several callers reveal how they were defrauded by fake estate agents.