Lagos State Government has said it will get tough on fake real estate agents and their official collaborators as their activities have been on the rise in the state.

A statement said the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, gave the warning during a press briefing in Lagos.

“Henceforth, government will deal decisively with anybody caught in these untoward activities,” she said.

She said hundreds of reported cases of alleged frauds involving those in real estate business were being addressed across the state.

According to Benson-Awoyinka, a department under the Ministry of Housing formerly known as Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department has now transformed to Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority.

She said the name change also upgraded the erstwhile department to a full agency that would be supervised by her office.

While unveiling the agency’s logo and a website/registration portal database of credible real estate practitioners, she said the initiative was launched “to create, provide, develop, continuously capture and update a unified central database of real estate practitioners and their activities within the state, among others.”

She said this would enable residents to be abreast of the importance of patronising registered real estate practitioners and property developers.

The special adviser said the present administration under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu approved the transition of the department to an agency last February in its bid to transform Lagos into a 21st-century economy.

According to her, the agency now has the mandate to prepare rules and regulation for the practice of estate agency and other connected matters in the state.

Benson- Awoyinka said, “The agency also has as part of its mandate to identify persons eligible to be licensed as estate agents and renew licences annually, as well as maintain a register of licensed estate agents and sanction unlicensed estate agency practitioners in the state, among others.”

She said the agency would organise monitoring teams and conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the law as well as investigate complaints and petitions against licensed estate agency practitioners.

She added that the initiative was put in place to sanitise the industry and “curb fraudulent practices in this sector.”

Benson-Awoyinka said, “We are well aware of the trend of fraudulent practices of some real estate agents/property developers.

“This is reflected in the complaints received by the agency in recent time from residents who had fallen victims to fake real estate practitioners/property developers while seeking for accommodation, purchasing/selling of properties.

“As you all know, Lagos State has been the commercial and economic nerve centre of Nigeria and Africa with investment opportunities, hence the net migration to the state.”

She said the state government had worked tirelessly over the years to curb the increasing fraudulent practices in the sector, adding that this explained the need to sanitise it.

She called on residents to support the agency in its effort to curb fraudulent practices by ensuring that they patronised only registered real estate agents in the state.

The special adviser also declared as illegal any real estate business in Lagos without a valid Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority licence.

Source : punchng.com

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