Stakeholders in the real estate industry in Lagos State are voicing concerns regarding the various challenges faced within the sector. They attribute these issues to the inadequate regulation and enforcement by the authorities.
The stakeholders, which comprises the real estate developers, agents, financiers, realtors, marketers, and other professionals, believe that it is crucial for the Lagos government to take immediate action by implementing legislation to improve and sanitize the real estate sector in the state.
They expressed their displeasure at the stakeholders’ engagement/interactive session organised by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) on Tuesday, November 28.
Many of the issues highlighted include the fraudulent activities of some players in the industry who swindle property buyers.
They also frowned at the activities of quacks, which the Lagos state government has yet to stop.
Other concerns are the issuing of fake certificates of occupancy (C of O) and building documents, rigorous processes in acquiring building permits, and bureaucratic bottlenecks dealing with many regulatory authorities – state ministries, agencies, and parastatals related to the real estate sector in the state.
There are also concerns about protecting investors and developers from the overbearing powers of the Obas (traditional rulers) and Omoniles (traditional land owners), who sold their lands and would later turn around to reclaim them forcefully.
The stakeholders also raised concerns about the need for a digital central system to verify the genuineness of landed properties and the taxes levied on developers, urging the government to tighten its regulations around real estate business in the state.
Responding to some of the issues raised and promising to address others in due course, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare, corroborated the challenges.
She said the state lacked the data to authenticate real estate developers and other actors in the building business.
She explained that efforts were being made to have many practitioners registered with LASRERA.
A legal practitioner, Odunuga-Bakare, advised Nigerians in the diaspora, who mostly fall victim in the hands of the fraudsters and quacks in the system, to always verify from the authorities portal whether the individual or company they are dealing with were duly registered with LASRERA.
“At the end of the day, if you get duped, or your money gets lost, there is no way the Lagos State government can intervene to recover such money,” she warned.
Odunuga-Bakare faulted the argument that most demolition exercises arise due to not obtaining the proper documents, approval, permits, and permit certificates from relevant ministries, agencies, and parastatals at every stage of the building process. She said some people built on canals, which are unsafe for the environment.
While most questions raise concerns about lands and physical planning, Odunuga-Bakare noted that the LASRERA law, enacted in February 2021, was to checkmate some of these malpractices.
The chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Lagos Chapter, Bamidele Onalaja, pledged the allegiance of the associate to the Lagos state government.
He urged developers always to seek the regulatory authorities’ proper approval to avoid having their properties marked for demolition.