The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka has advised landlords and tenants in the state to always make use of registered house agents and lawyers to avoid issues in leasing and renting of properties.
Benson-Awoyinka, in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, said that such agents and lawyers should be registered with the state’s Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD) and listed on its website.
The special adviser said unless property owners or tenants use registered agents in the state, it might be difficult for the government to help in resolving disputes that might arise from transactions.
Benson-Awoyinka spoke against the background of recurrent cases of clashes between tenants and landlords.
She said that if a landlord and tenant went through a registered agent or lawyer when handling rent related issues, it would be easier to resolve issues that might arise.
The special adviser said that if disagreements arose over such properties, it would not be the business of the landlord to relate with the tenant, but that of a trained agent to handle such cases.
According to her, the tenant or the person leasing a property using a government registered agent or lawyer is safer as such agent or lawyer can easily be traced when financial disputes arise.
She said that it would prevent a situation where people pay money to a landlord or fake agent who eventually disappears with the rent.
“When renting out your property, you must know the kind of agreement you sign with the tenant, you don’t just give out your property because you are in need of money.
“The agent that brought that person must first be a registered agent; ensure the tenant has a guarantor.
“But, in most cases, problems arise because the landlords do not want to pay the lawyer or the registered agent to handle the matter for them.
“A registered agent or lawyer will always know what to do.
“Once the agent or lawyer takes his commission, he is committed to see to the welfare of the tenant or landlord in that property, but some landlords also want to be the agent.
“Going to a mediation centre later to settle such cases does not pay anybody, when you could do the right thing at the beginning,” Benson-Awoyinka said.
According to her, if a dispute arises on a property, the landlord or tenant just has to approach the agent and explain the situation and such agent or lawyer takes it up from there.
She said that the registered agents and lawyers knew what to do, and this would save conflicting landlords and tenants from dragging themselves before a mediation centre.