Lagos Govt retrieves ₦478.13m, 18 properties from fraudulent agents

Since the establishment of LASRERA in 2020, the agency has received a total number of 1,702 real estate fraudulent-related cases to date.

The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Agency (LASRERA) has recovered ₦478.13 million and 18 properties from fraudulent real estate practitioners, returning them to their rightful owners over the past four years.

Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State, said this at the 2024 ministerial media briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Housing, to commemorate the first year of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term in office, on Thursday in Lagos.

Fatai stated that LASRERA was able to achieve the feat on behalf of third parties through a mediation process between the tenants, land buyers and the fraudulent estate agents, land vendors and developers.

He said: “The agency has legislative right to explore Alternatives Disputes Resolution (ADR) mechanism as means to amicably settle real estate related disputes.

“This is done before the cases are escalated to the enforcement authority for detailed investigation and prosecution if required.

“Worthy of note is LASRERA’s intervention in the alleged ₦40 million land scam issue between Revolution Plus Property Ltd. and a Nigerian in the diaspora.”

According to him, since the establishment of LASRERA in 2020, the agency has received a total number of 1,702 real estate fraudulent-related cases to date, out of which 1,458 were mediated and 1,144 were successfully resolved.

The commissioner disclosed that 294 of the cases were adjourned for further mediation, 141 cases were abandoned due to non-attendance at the sessions by the parties involved, and 103 were referred to appropriate agencies.

“In addition, there are eight cases in courts; two in Federal High Court, three in State High Court and three in Magistrate Court,” he said.

Akinderu-Fatai further said that the agency has a database of 925 registered individuals and organisations on its registration portal out of over 2,550 practitioners that had enrolled to be registered.

He advised residents of the state to be wary, and not fall victim to fake or dubious estate agents, as well as patronise registered real estate individuals or organisations only. The commissioner said, “It is an offence for an individual or organisation to engage in real estate business in Lagos State without being registered with LASRERA.

“Let us act responsibly and follow the path of the law. As a centre of excellence, the real estate market’s cycles would be a greater opportunity to the economy as a whole.

“The state will also emerge stronger if all of us can key into the state government’s vision towards a greater Lagos Rising,” he added.

Commenting, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Housing, also in charge of LASRERA, said that the agency had penalised not less than 35 agents involved in real estate malpractices in the last year.

Odunuga-Bakare, a lawyer, said some other cases were in court, hence the state was awaiting the decision on the suit. She noted that the Lagos State Judiciary, in collaboration with LASRERA, promised to expedite actions on court matters and issues in real estate to obtain timely justice for defrauded members of the public.

According to her, the agency has also synergised and collaborated with some relevant MDAs to sensitise the general public and also get feedback where necessary.

Since the establishment of the agency, LASRERA has constantly engaged its stakeholders through different fora held to standardise the real estate sector of the state to meet with international best practices.

“The agency would not rest on its oars to achieve its goal,” she stated.

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