In a bid to sanitize the real estate sector, the Lagos State Government has made it mandatory for players like house agents, property developers and professionals in the sector to register with the state. This was announced via Lagos State’s Twitter handle, @followlasg.
Speaking during the launch of the website on Thursday at Alausa, Ikeja, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said this became necessary to capture and update a unified central database of real estate practitioners and their activities. With the guidelines launch, it’s now clear that Lagos State government has set out guidelines and rules that real estate players in Lagos must follow. According to the new guidelines: Licensed Estate Agent / Property Developer shall not carry on Business of Real Estate in the State unless licensed by the Lagos State Real Estate and Regulatory Authority.
Among other guidelines are that A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall have an ascertained business premises/office within the State.
A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall register the business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall have records of business transactions, and shall open a separate client account.
A Licensed Estate Practitioner shall not act for two (2) principal (Clients) on a transaction.
A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall be paid fees by his principal only.
A Licensed Estate Practitioner shall not collect money from more than one prospective tenant or purchaser in respect of the same premises and shall remit money collected to the landlord within fourteen (14) days, unless otherwise directed in writing by the landlord and such money collected shall be receipted for.
A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall ensure that his client performs all his obligations to the Government under the existing laws, such as the deduction and remittance of Withholding Tax, Valued Added Tax or other charges payable on the property he handles.
Agency fee(s) shall be as follows:
Letting: Not more than 10 percent of the total rent collected on any transaction.
Sale or Purchase of interests in Land and Buildings where two or more agents are retained by the owner/vendor for the sale, the fee shall not be more than 15 percent of the total proceeds of sale.
A Licensed Real Estate Practitioner shall not prepare any legal document pertaining to any transaction handled by him, but must be prepared by a Legal Practitioner and the fees shall not be more than 12.5 percent of the total consideration.
For Property Developers:
A Property Developer shall not practise the business of a Real Estate Agency or enter into any Real Estate development in the State without due licence from the Authority for that purpose.
A Developer shall not advertise, market, book, sell or offer for sale, or invite persons to purchase in any manner any plot, apartment or building, as the case may be, in any real estate project or part of it, in any planning area, without registering the real estate project with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.
A Developer shall make an application to the Authority for registration of the real estate project in such form, manner, within such time and accompanied by such fees as may be specified by the regulations made by the Authority.
A Developer shall provide the names and addresses of his Real Estate Agents, if any, for the proposed project.
A developer shall submit the names and address of the contractors, architect, structural engineer, if any and other persons concerned with the development of the proposed project to LASRERA.
A Developer shall collect money for only the number of units built and available for sale.
In her statement she (Benson Awosika) said:” We are well aware of the trend of fraudulent practices of some Real Estate Agents and Property Developers, this is reflected in the complaints received by the Agency in recent times from residents who had fallen victims to fake Real Estate Practitioners and Property Developers while seeking accommodation, purchase or sale of property, hence the need to have a comprehensive database that can be used to curb these fraudulent practices in the sector.”
Benson-Awoyinka said that it had become important to sanitize the sector, which has been bedevilled by lots of fraudulent practices, because of the state’s status as the commercial and economic nerve centre of Nigeria and Africa, with lots of investment opportunities.
She also said that the Governor had approved change of name of the government department, from Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department to Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
According to her, part of the mandate of the new office includes the preparation of rules and regulations for the practice of estate agency and other connected matters in the state, identification of persons eligible to be licensed as estate agents and renewal of annual licences, sanction of unlicensed estate agency practitioners in the state, as well as the investigation of complaints and petitions against licensed estate agency practitioners, amongst others.
The Special Adviser pointed out that the website www.lasrera.com houses a brief history of the agency’s initiatives, aims and objectives, commitment to the people, a complaint section and a registration portal, which allows practitioners to upload documents, stressing that the Agency also has social media handles for effective management and communication amongst the stakeholders.