Following the phenomenal growth and high number of unlicensed persons operating as estate agents, defrauding the public and the government, experts have called for the establishment of an Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB).
In other climes, the regulatory body for estate agency practice is charged with the responsibility of registering estate agents and ensuring that the competence and conduct of practicing estate agents are of a standard sufficiently high to ensure the protection of the public.
Leading the call at the first edition of 2017 yearly stakeholders’ forum organised by the Lagos State Real State Transaction Department (LASRETRAD) in Ikeja, an estate surveyor and valuer, Tope Ojo said a national and state board is needed for the standardization of the practice.
Expanding the conference theme, “Standardising Real estate Agency Practice in Lagos State”, Ojo noted that lack of regulatory framework has become a major bane to real estate agency in Nigeria.
Using the South Africa and Canada models, he stressed that there is a board that regulate over 40,000 estate agents in South Africa, while one cannot practice in Canada without completing a course and passing the examination through the provincial real estate association against the free entry and free exit model practiced in Nigeria.
According to him, creating estate agency board will ensure registration of all estate agents, provision of professional indemnity for the practice, insurance and creation of categories of licensed members in Nigeria.
Lagos State Government’s Special Adviser on Housing, Mrs. Aramide Giwanson regretted that estate agency practice has become an all comers affair including those who do not have the basic training and qualification as a result of the lack of a central professional/ regulatory body that will set minimum standard and code of ethics for practitioner.
She noted that many Nigerians have been defrauded because of the state of estate agency practice in Lagos, which is largely unorganized, unregulated and unprofessional.
According to her, one of the steps taken by the Lagos state government to redress the situation was the establishment of LASTRETRAD, a department saddled with the responsibility of not just ensuring that the stipulated rules and regulations guiding the real estate agency are strictly adhered to but also ensure that violators are made to account for their actions.
She expressed the belief that this will ensure protection for citizens and reduce the tendency for fraudulent practices as well as enable government to adequately capture the data on property transactions on as regular basis as being done in most developed parts of the world.
She therefor urged all relevant stakeholders in the real estate agency to partner government in the task of ridding the sector of dubious and unqualified agents.
In his remarks, Director, Estate Department in the State’s Ministry of Housing, Babatunde Oyebola stressed that the establishment of LASTRETRAD in 2012 was to among other responsibilities, regulate and monitor the activities of real estate agents in the state.