By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised residents in the real estate business to be cautious in any financial transaction to avoid being scammed.
Sanwo-Olu gave advice at the opening of the 3rd edition of the Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibitions organised by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) held at Victoria Island, Lagos.
The two-day event had the theme: ”A Town Hall Meeting: The Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets—Mitigating Risks.”
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, urged the public to double-check the records of the organisations with which they deal to ensure that the individual or organisation is registered with LASRERA and other relevant government agencies in the built sector.
Sanwo-Olu called for joint monitoring of the real estate sector to curb quackery, unlicensed operators and protect citizens against unprofessional practices in the market in restoring sanity in the sector.
He said the emerging trends and practices in the sector in recent times called for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine practitioners and the government in view of the rate of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents; who are taking undue advantage of the market which has become one of the fastest growing in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular as a result of increasing population.
Sanwo-Olu said the theme of the event was adopted to shine a searchlight on the sector against the background of new tactics and strategies being deployed by unscrupulous and fake practitioners to defraud unsuspecting clients.
The governor added that the sector can be a floodgate of economic prosperity to the state and stakeholders when potential risks are minimal in the sector, hence the need to restore public confidence and safeguard investments of citizens within the sector.
He said the government through its regulatory agency, Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) has defined minimum operational standards and guidelines for citizens to abide by, adding that the guidelines provide a comprehensive checklist for the citizens to correctly identify and have a competitive list of registered individuals/organizations to avoid doing business with unregistered Real Estate practitioners in the system.
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, pleaded with Lagosians and everyone interested in the real estate business to be cautious in any financial transaction they engage in by fact-checking the track records of the organizations they are dealing with; to ascertain if the individual/organization is registered with LASRERA and other relevant government Agencies in the built sector.
“The emerging trends and practices in this sector in recent times call for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine practitioners and the government.
“This is in light of the increasing number of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents who are taking undue advantage of a market that has become one of the fastest growing in Nigeria, and Lagos State in particular, as a result of rising population.
“As a government, we owe it a duty to safeguard the investments of people who may be unaware of some unprofessional practices in the market.
“The need to restore public confidence in this sector led to the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate transaction in Lagos State to protect the citizens and investors from the potential risks emerging in the market,” he said
The governor, therefore, advised registered individuals/organisations to avoid doing business with unregistered real estate practitioners in the system by familiarising themselves with LASRERA guidelines.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, stated that the state government was determined to ensure sanity is restored to the state’s Real Estate Environment with the review of LASRERA Law 2022 which aimed to protect investors against any potential risks and also to prosecute individuals or organizations, amongst other laws.
Benson-Awoyinka added that as an integral part of Real Estate, government regulations must address the ethical standards of potential risk in terms of losses for the protection of the citizenry’s investments.
She stressed that as professionals/stakeholders in Real Estate, the Market must be rebuilt so that investors/investees’ confidence can be restored and ensure that the state government’s vision of making Lagos a 21st-century economy conforms to the international best practices in real estate and not be a stand-alone in the market.