The Lagos State government has called on the private sector to collaborate to prevent proliferation of fraudulent activities in the real estate market.

The Government said it has enacted laws and policies to guide this menace, but calling on stakeholders to assist in addressing the challenge.

Speaking at the 3rd Lagos Real Estate MarketPlace Conference and Exhibitions with the theme; ‘Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets -Mitigating the Potential Risks”, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the theme was adopted to beam search light on the sector against the background on new strategies being deployed by fake practitioners to defraud unsuspecting clients.

The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat explained that Real Estate Market can be floodgate of economic prosperity to the State and Stakeholders when potential risks are minimum in the Sector.

He maintained that government, through its regulatory agency, LASRERA, cannot do this alone considering the huge real estate transaction going on in different parts of the State, hence the need for joint monitoring of this sector to curb quackery and unlicensed operators.

“This conference and Exhibition was initiated as a platform for Individuals and Organisations operating in the Real Estate Sector to network and address developmental issues affecting the real estate business in Lagos State.

“As a Government, we owe it a duty to safeguard investments of people who may be unaware of some unprofessional practices in the market. The need to restore public confidence to this sector led to the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate transaction in Lagos State to protect the citizens and investors from the potential risks emerging in the market.

“The emerging trends and practices in this sector in recent time call for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine practitioners and the government in view of the rate of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents who are taking undue advantage of the market which has become one of the fastest growing in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular as a result of increasing population.” he said

Fact Checking

The Governor pleaded with residents and everyone interested in real estate business to be cautious in any financial transaction they engage in by fact checking the track records of the organisations they are dealing with to ascertain if the individual or organisation is registered with LASRERA and other relevant government Agencies in the sectors.

He however reiterated the government’s resolve to commence the monthly rentals payment, stressing that the government was re-examining the process to make the policy sustainable.

Sector’s challenges

The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, who oversees the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority, LASRERA mentioned that the Real Estate Sector has been plagued with risks and losses which have been critical issues for those in the Sector.

Benson-Awoyinka said that the quest for transparency on Business Transactions in the Real Estate Markets necessitated the need for the involvement of government in the regulation of the Real Estate Sector.

She said Lagos State Government was determined to ensure sanity was restored to the State’s Real Estate Environment with the review of the Agency’s Law

She said “Impersonation in the Real Estate Industry is becoming unethically high which is contributing to the increase in the fraudulent activities in Real Estate Market, hence the need for Government intervention.

“This development calls for appropriate regulation, implementation and enforcement of the Real Estate Laws in order to restore sanity into the sector and instil public confidence in the real estate profession and it explains why the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority – LASRERA is mandated to regulate and register those individuals / organisations who are involved in this Sector.

“One major potential risks involving the Real Estate Market is identifying the Real Stakeholders of this Market, and in doing this, there must be Watchet to effectively Monitor activities of operations towards development of the Sector.

“As integral part of the Real Estate Environment, Government’s regulations must address the ethical standards of potential risk in terms of losses for the protection of the citizenry’s investments.”

She noted that the risks of losses in the sector can be curbed if the individuals and organisations that are operating in the Real Estate would register with LASRERA so that fraudulent practices can be reduced to barest minimum.

LASRERA boss however added that a total of 1,584 have enrolled on LASRERA’s Registration Portal and out of this number, the agency can only boast of a total of 203 registered applicants from inception, stressing for more compliance.

Compliance Level

During the Panel session, participants dissected issues around stemming the tide of building failure and consistent collapse of buildings in Lagos.

They harped on placing value on the inhabitants of the building which would make the developers to consider appropriate planning and professionalism during construction work.

Attitudinal dispositions of developers to comply with the building codes, Insurance coverage for the building, ensuring adequate maintanace of buildings as well as getting plans approval and authorization for the commencement of the project were also discussed.

The panel agreed that deploying technology would grow the State real estate market, while Government continous collaboration with Private sector would also help to reduce incessant building collapse to its bearest minimum.

Confidence Okwuchi