IN PICTURE ABOVE: From Left, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing, Mr Wasiu Akewusola; Commissioner for Housing, Mr Akinderu Fatai; Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka and permanent secretary Ministry of Information & Strategy, Mr Sina Thorpe during a news Conference on the Launch of Website /Registration Portal and Unveiling of Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority, LASRERA in Lagos on Thursday
The Lagos State Government on Thursday, unveiled a portal – www.lasrera.lagosstate.gov.ng, toward curbing cases of fraud by estate agents in the state.
The Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, told newsmen at a news conference in Ikeja, that the portal would be used to register all estate agents in the state.
Benson-Awoyinka said this was with a view to monitoring activities of estate agents and prosecute fraudulent ones.
She said that the portal would end the era of fraudulent practices in the real estate sector.
According to her, the state government will no longer tolerate activities of estate agents who defraud Lagos people on the pretence of securing accommodation or any form of property for prospective buyers or tenants.
”We are well aware of the trend of fraudulent practices of some real estate agents and property developers.
”This is reflected in the complaints received by the agency in recent time of residents who had fallen victims to fake real estate practitioners and property developers, while seeking for accommodation, purchasing and 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.
”The state government has worked tirelessly over the years to curb the increasing fraudulent practices in this sector, and this explains the need to sanitise the industry,” she said.
The governor’s aide said that the state had been able to prosecute one of such so far and was in court with others.
She said that recently, a lady from the U.S was duped of N30 million by a particular company with offices in Victoria Island and Magodo.
”We have cases of about 70 people defrauded by some agents. Also, I’m aware of a case of 30 people defrauded by another agent.
”There are instances where agents defrauded prospective clients of agency fees of say, N5000, and showing them properties that are not listed or that they do not even know the owners.
”All these are the narratives we want to change. What we are saying is, if you defraud our people, we will prosecute you.
”In line with the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of Mr Governor on improving Technology Infrastructure, we are today unveiling the website, social media handles and registration portal for effective management and communication amongst the stakeholders.
“The interactive website would enhance post COVID compliance initiatives and promote transparency.
“It would become a one-stop-shop for stakeholders and government,” Benson-Awoyinka said.
According to her, the new agency’s website is: www.lasrera.com and registrations portal: www.lasrera.lagosstate.gov.ng.
She said that the robust platform contained a brief history of the agency’s initiatives, aims and goal, commitment to the people, a complaint section, a registration portal which allowed one to upload document.
Benson-Awoyinka said that the agency remained committed to providing an enabling environment and transparent real estate sector that conformed to international best practices, while safeguarding the ultimate interest of all the stakeholders.
According to her, from now, to practice in Lagos as an agent, one must be registered on the website, be at least, a school certificate holder, must have an office as individual, and if an organisation, it must have a board or management team.
”Every agent that is registered will be put on a portal, a compendium which will have all listed agents for easy tracking and follow up. This is part of the purpose of the registration,” she said.
The special adviser, however, said that the state government does not charge any amount to defend Lagosians who felt the need to be defended in the court of law.
She said that there was now a change in the name of a Department under the Ministry of Housing, formerly known as Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department, to Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
Benson-Awoyinka said that the change in the name also upgraded the erstwhile department to a full agency that would be supervised by the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing. (NAN)