The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) has met with practising lawyers in the Real Estate Sector over the newly amended LASRERA Law to examine its impacts on the Real Estate Practitioners and also explore the benefits inherent in the State Government’s proposed Monthly Rental Scheme and how residents can key into the initiative.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Stakeholders Forum organised by the Agency, in conjunction with the Construction Projects and Infrastructure Committee of the section on Business Law, Nigerian Bar Association, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka underscored the crucial roles of lawyers in the implementation of the new law.
She said that it became imperative for lawyers to be well guided by the provisions of the amended law to enable them to give professional advice to their potential clients in the area of property and real estate business transactions.
The Special Adviser, who decried the level of fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals in the State’s real estate industry, stated that most fraudulent Real Estate transactions do not engage lawyers from the inception of such transactions to closing.
She, however, emphasised that the LASRERA Law was reviewed to regulate and bring sanity to the Real Estate Sector as well as all transactions therein, stressing that the role of property lawyers is to protect the interest of all parties in any Real Estate Transaction, as Legal professionals.
On the proposed Monthly Rental Policy Scheme, Benson-Awoyinka noted that the scheme is a social investment programme of the State Government to alleviate the suffering of Lagosians seeking comfortable shelters, adding that the State Government would not compel any landlord to subscribe to this initiative.
She added that the idea of rent payments, which have Insurance and Legal coverages, would guarantee a consistent pattern of payment by the tenants, while the tenants would also heave a sigh of relief with the burden of unbundling huge amounts every year.
In his address, the State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, expressed optimism about the new law, saying that it was designed to bring sanity into the sector and weed out touts that have made a lot of gains fraudulently from the sector.
Highlighting certain provisions of the law, Onigbanjo talked about the functions of the agency which involved policy formulation, training the stakeholders in the real estate transactions, collecting data of players in the industry, issuing permits and possibly revocation of the same, as well as receiving and investigating complaints from the public regarding transactions, amongst others.
Onigbanjo, who was represented by the Director, Legal Drafting, Mrs. Aderinsola Olanrewaju of the Ministry of Justice, explained that law and regulations are very critical to the real estate as the forum would avail participants the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the legislation, just as he also assured that the law would change the landscape of real estate development and management in general.
In his contribution via a virtual platform, the Chairman, CPIC, NBA Section on Business Law, Mr. Olayode Delano, SAN, said the LASRERA Law would be beneficial to investors and property owners in the State.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Abiola Kosegbe, clarified the issue of duplication of roles by different Government Agencies during the panel discussion, saying that each MDA has specific functions with certain areas of synergy.
She explained that while LASRERA concentrates on the post-construction stage of Real Estate, other Agencies of Government are either involved in the conception stage which involves building materials testing, building control, and implementation of approved building plans among others.
The Company Secretary/General Counsel, UPDC PLC, Mrs. Folake Kalaro, during the panel discussion on the LASRERA LAW, emphasised the need to review the academic qualifications for real estate practitioners as stipulated in the law.
She stated that the law is a path toward ensuring normalcy in the real estate industry, but the government must ensure the implementation of most of the policies, particularly the aspect that affects the Real Estate Market in the State.
Another panelist and Managing Partner, Adetola Ayanru & Co, Mrs. Adetola Ayanru, affirmed that the law seeks to address professionalism in the real estate sector, considering the importance of real estate in Lagos State and its contribution to the State’s economy.
She said that when the law becomes fully operational, cases of fraud and sharp practices would become a thing of the past and more foreign direct investment would be attracted to the State.