LAGOS STATE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION DEPARTMENT

POLICY DIRECTION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LAGOS STATE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION DEPARTMENT.  The legislation for the establishment of Real Estate Transaction Department was confirmed by an Executive order No. EO/BRF/009 of 2012 by the erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).

Various Legislation and the Executive order of the State Government for Estate Agents, Developers, Letting Agents and other Property Service Providers were introduced to create a credible regulatory framework and to ensure that consumers are better informed when they purchase, sell or let a property within Lagos State.

According to the former Governor of Lagos State, the Real Estate industry has become one of the most vibrant sectors of Lagos State economy. The infrastructural renewal policy of the State Government and increased public spending on capital projects have made the state a destination of choice for both commercial and residential housing development, and this has led to an upsurge in Real Estate investments in order to meet the expanding market. This high market demand has however made the sector susceptible to abuse by individuals who engage in a number of unsalutary practices to the detriment of citizens of the state.

In essence, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), as part of the commitment of his administration to regulate and restore confidence in the activities of Estate Agents in the state has set up this dedicated organisation known as Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD) in the Ministry of Housing under the supervision of the former Special Adviser on Housing.

The organisation is to work with other relevant agencies of Government to ascertain that Lagos residents are adequately protected in the course of Real Estate transactions and to equally entrench the principle of fair-play, orderly conduct and accountability in Real Estate sector of the state. The department is also to ensure that public and government activities are carried out in accordance with the laid down rules and regulations of the state on Real Estate Sector.

As international business and Real Estate investment increase in the state, the consideration of driving this Real Estate based economy must be emphasized. Since Lagos State has always been a flourishing trading post of Real Estate Development in Nigeria. For many years, property seekers and sellers are often unaware of the experience and qualifications of different agents or various options available when agreeing on transactions on landed property. Prospective property seekers experience considerable frustration over delays, between the date sales or letting are placed or agreed upon and when contracts are exchanged. With this and many more, and also coupled with the fact that the need to provide affordable housing for the increasing population of the state has become a major concern of the Government, various strategic steps were taken by the State Government on the establishment of the LASRETRAD.

The new rules/regulations being introduced and emanating from the various State Laws, Executive order and others, provided for the establishment of LASRETRAD and make rooms for the following:

Identification of persons eligible to be licensed as Estate Agents.

  LASRETRAD regulations and the policy derived from them, set out a code of best

     practices and requirements as to how to become a licensed agent in the state

     and how complaints are to be handled with new set of standards.

The office is now in position to take necessary action against Estate Agents who may likely break the law.

The objectives of LASRETRAD are many and diversified. They include treating tenants and landlords in a fair, responsible and reasonable manner, promoting property investments and simplifying the procedures of government policies in this regard with a view to enhancing compliance with international best practices in Real Estate Transaction in Lagos State.

In order to be more supportive of the vulnerable in the society, LASRETRAD is to monitor compliance with the Lagos State Tenancy Law, Criminal Law as it relates to Real Estate Transactions and other legislation on land transactions in the state. Licensed Estate Agents, issue and renew their licences annually, and prosecute agents suspected of having violated the applicable laws in this sector.

With the current complex competitive property market, this regulatory framework will make the difference as the new establishment is a timely summary of the recent past, current developments and conditions needed for the sustainable growth of the state.

The purpose is to enhance Lagos’ position as an investment destination and to further create a sustainable climate for ease of doing business in the state. The process of identifying persons eligible to be licensed as Estate Agents involved building a database that will metamorphose into a unique Estate Agent Identification Number (EAIN).

The establishment of the Department by the former administration of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is aimed at increasing the accessibility of Lagosians to affordable homes, and with this dedicated office in place, the citizens of Lagos state are welcome to a new dawn in Real Estate practice.

HON. MR. KEHINDE JOSEPH

(Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Housing)