Determined to sanitise and strengthen operations of the property market, the Lagos State Government has held talks with real estate developers to seek their buy-in into the mandate of the Real Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
The meeting held between the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson -Awoyinka and Chief Executive Officers(CEOs) of the firms at The George Hotel, Ikoyi, deliberated on ways to curb rate of reported and increasing cases of fraudulent practices in the sector across the state.
She explained that the need to tackle several fraudulent practices within the sector necessitated the upgrading of the Department under the Ministry of Housing to LASRERA.
Mrs. Benson-Awoyinka stated that currently, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill is before Lagos State House of Assembly for review, stressing that the Stakeholders in the industry will be invited for their contributions into the bill at the appropriate time.
She said that the acts of fraudulent practices by some real estate developers have discouraged genuine investors in the industry, especially from outside the country.
She acknowledged the fact that CEOs of companies play important roles in Lagos, especially in facilitating business relationships between people selling or buying, leasing or renting of landed property.
The Special Adviser said the developers must work with the agency to enhance the integrity and reputation of the property market.
In response, the developers noted with enthusiasm their joy in the state bringing them together and appreciating the need being long overdue to regulate and sanitize the Sector.
They however pleaded with the government on the need to provide complimentary infrastructure being roads and electricity, to reduce the cost of developments and make it more affordable and accessible to the people.
They also requested that the agency creates a one-stop desk, where issues around government processes can be resolved to make their dealings with government seamless.
In a related development, LASRERA has called for the collaboration of the judiciary in providing designated judges for the handling of real estate related matters.
Mrs. Benson-Awoyinka made the request when she led some principal officials of the agency to the office of the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba during a courtesy visit.
Benson-Awoyinka said, for LASRERA to effectively enforce the law guiding activities in the sector in form of misconducts, complaints, or petitions from the public against persons or organisations, there is a need for courts and designated judges to fast-track/speedy hearing of real estate matters/issues in such courts.
Her words: “The courts will accelerate the dispensation of all matters/ issues in relation to real estate and ensure that victims get justice within a reasonable time and refunded accordingly, especially if the perpetrators are culpable. She added that the properties of the culprits might be confiscated and sold to offset the payment already made by the affected victims.
While responding, Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba pledged that the judiciary will support in the fight against fraudulent dealings in the real estate practice.
He described the request of the agency for designated courts to fast-track the issues/ matters of the dubious activities of some fake practitioners as a welcome development and promised to assign judges to handle such cases within some jurisdiction in the state.