The real estate sector in Nigeria provides one of the best investment opportunities in the country, especially as it appears the industry is one of the few sectors that was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to industry players, the sector defied the pandemic’s squeeze, as many real estate firms made more profit during and after the lockdown.
This article provides a run-through of how to get licenced as a real estate practitioner in Lagos, which is arguably one of the foremost real estate markets in the nation.
Before diving into these steps, it is important to note that the Lagos State Estate Agency Regulatory Law, Cap L28, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (“Law”) established the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA), to look into real estate transactions in Lagos State by identifying persons eligible to be licensed as Real Estate Practitioners.
The agency provides for the issuance or renewal of annual permits, as well as collating and registering real estate transactions in the state. The regulation is essential to checkmate the activities of fraudsters in the sector.
Below, are the things a practitioner needs to get registered:
* Evidence of CAC registration and means of identification must be submitted to the agency before the license is issued.
* Operational office address must also be submitted to the agency.
* A potential licensee must have a minimum qualification of Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).
* All real estate practitioners are licenced by the agency and it can also sanction unlicensed real estate practitioners in the State.
* A real estate practitioner must keep records of business transactions and shall open a separate client’s account.
* A practitioner is also expected to ensure that his client performs all his obligations to the Government under the existing laws, such as the deduction and remittance of Withholding Tax, Valued Added Tax or other charges payable on the property he handles.
* A practitioner must not collect money from more than one prospective tenant or purchaser in respect of the same premises.
* Such transaction must be remitted to the landlord within fourteen (14) days of receipt unless otherwise directed in writing by the landlord. Money collected from clients shall also be receipted.
* A real estate practitioner shall not charge more than 10% of the total rent collected on any transaction and where the transaction involves sale or purchase of an interest in lands or building and two or more agents are retained by the owner/vendor for the sale, the fee shall not be more than 15% of the total proceeds of the sale.
* A real estate practitioner shall not prepare any legal document pertaining to any transaction handled by him but such a document must be prepared by a legal practitioner and the fees shall not be more than 12.5% of the total consideration.
* A licensed estate practitioner shall not act for two (2) principals (clients) on a transaction and shall only be paid by his principal.
The guidelines are expected to bring effective regulation, transparency and accountability to the real estate sector in Lagos State. They are also meant to provide credibility and facilitate documentation processes.