Lagos has less than 500 licensed estate agents, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Estate, Rent and Commission Agents Association of Nigeria, Godwin Alenkhe, said on Monday.
Alenkhe, who paid a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of PUNCH Nigeria Limited in company with some other executives of the association, described the activities of quacks as tainting the image of its members.
“We have licensed estate agents in Lagos and it is not easy to get a licence. None of our members is involved in most of the fraudulent activities that you see happening in the sector. We have disciplinary measures in place.”
While calling for more government involvement in the real estate sector, Alenkhe identified government bureaucracy as a major factor contributing to the increasing number of illegal estate agents in the state, accusing the state government of not doing enough.
He said, “We are appealing to the state government to transform the Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department to a government agency because of the bureaucracy in government departments.
“The LSRETD is just a department so enforcement is a problem. Two months ago, we raided the Ikorodu area of the state but we want an exercise that will cover the whole of Lagos State so that all the bad representations can come to an end. (But) we realised that politicians don’t want to probably step on toes.”
The chapter’s Public Relations Officer, Frank Akata, however, called for a special government task force to enforce sanity in the real estate industry, saying “any policy without enforcement will not work, which is why everyone engages in our profession.”
On the proliferation of real estate agencies, Alenkhe said his association was currently having discussions with the Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria, which was being spearheaded by the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, to merge the two bodies.
The association said it had concluded plans to award the media ‘The Educative, Informative and Investigative Newspaper on Real Estate Sector’ on the occasion.