Prospective tenants who are always at the mercy of fake estate agents, whose stock in trade is extortion, can now heave a sigh of relief, Lagos State government has said.
The government has set a mechanism in motion to regulate the estate agency practice with the aim of checkmating the activities of quacks, who have been extorting money from innocent would-be tenants in the name of securing accommodation for them.
To achieve this, the state has created a department in the ministry of housing known as
Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD).
At a stakeholders forum recently for the department to commence operations, Jimoh Ajao, special adviser to the governor on housing, said the department would be responsible for regulating and monitoring activities of estate agents in the state.
According to Ajao, the department will ensure that residents are adequately protected in the course of transaction with estate agents through the entrenchment of the principle of fair play, orderly conduct and accountability in the real estate sector of the state.
“The department is empowered to ensure that the public and government activities are carried out in accordance with the laid down rules and regulations,” he said.
Ajao explained further that the focus of the present administration as embedded in the various laws of the federal and state Land Laws regulating Real Estate Transactions, was to to protect the citizens, thereby enhancing their confidence and trust in government.
“The department is created to sensitise the public on estate agency and its attendant rules, keep register of all qualified estate agency practitioners who registered with the department and prosecute agents who violate LASRETRAD laws,” he said.
Others, he said, included monitoring compliance with the Lagos State Tenancy Law, Criminal Law as it relates to Real Estate Transaction and other legislation on land transactions in the state; license estate agents, issue and renew their licences annually and ensure that payment of necessary charges and fees are made.
The department will ensure that tenants and landlords are fairly treated, promote property investments and simplify procedures and government policies on real estate transaction to enhance compliance with international best practices.
He explained further that this was to enhance Lagos position as an investment destination and to create a sustainable climate for ease of doing business in the state.