Tips From A Property Lawyer About Renting & Sale Of Property Especially In Lagos

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Property Lawyer : Photo Credit: lawinfo.com

I have gone through most of the request of intending nairalanders regarding the lease of certain accomodation spaces and property to let and i have found out that most intending tenants or future property owners are not being adequately adviced on what to do next.

RENTING A PROPERTY DOS AND DONTS:

1. Whenever you say “i am looking for a property to rent around lekki, ikeja, v.i etc, you must know that these areas are choice areas that attract high tenancy rates because they are low density areas and have more amenities and it is baffling to hear that someone is saying “his budget is between #150,000 to #200,000 per annum”.

What you are going to get for that price is not more than a one bedroom boys quarters with toilet and bathroom together (if any) and the size of the room will not be more than 8 by 12 at most.

Also, whenever an agent tells you that the rent is #200,000 per annum, you must always factor in the prevailing fees that follows it. That is 10% legal fees and 10% agency. It simply means that a flat going for #200,000 simply means its going for #480,000 in all honesty because Nigerian landlords collect 2 years in advance rent (Which although is contrary to the rent tribunal act which stipulates the prescribed rent per area and the prohibition of landlords from taking rent beyond 1 year)

So whenever you tell an agent that your budget is #400,000, make sure you either factor the agency fees and legal fees for 2 years before you state your budget unless, you will only be fooling yourself and you would be taken for a joy ride.

2. Also, do your utmost best to reject caution fees from unsuspecting agents. Caution fees are almost never refunded and the rent act forbids it.

3. Always demand for a fully drafted tenancy agreement drafted by a lawyer which spells out your right and covenants and more especially the option of renewal of the tenancy after the 2 years expires if need be and if the rent is to be increased, you should be given at least 6 months notice unless it is a valid ground for terminating the tenancy. This agreement is your bread and butter of the tenancy and not the rent you paid.

4. Due to economic reasons, always try to scout for areas that offer low rents. If you stay on the mainland and you work on the island, there is no point trying to pretend that your a big man by demanding a property for rent on the island which is tripple your salary and out of pocket expenses. You could always get a place close to the third mainland bridge such as gbagada, oworo, ikeja, ogba and its environs. Its cheaper and more cost effective in the long run especially when you see immediate amenities you need such as bukas, markets, kiosks, bars etc that are cheaper than those in choice areas.

5. Finally, if a quit notice is not given 6 months to the expiration of tenancy, the rent act provides for you to continue to stay in that property and the landlord can not do sh***t as long as your lawyer is aware of it. A 6 months quit notice is only applicable if your tenancy is a yearly tenancy e.g January 1st 2008 and expires December 31st 2008.

A 6 month quit notice legal calendar is different from a regular calendar calculation. E.g if the tenancy is from January 1st 2008 and expires December 31st 2008, the quit notice must be issued to you latest June 30th 2008. If the quit notice is being issued on July 4th 2008, the quit notice begins to run from August 1st 2008. The law states that there must be one clear full month before the quit notice is valid. If your landlord attempts to bamboozle you, buzz your nearest lawyer and intimate him. The landlord or Agent at this stage will be totally helpless. Its the law and you shouldnt be ignorant about this anymore.

SALE OF PROPERTIES:

1. Never negotiate with an Omo-onile (Area boy of lands). You have just thrown money into the bush.

2. Always require for properties that are measured in square metres not in plots because you could end up having a quarter plot, half plot or if your luck shines a corner piece (which is very rare)

3. Always get to know about the area you intend to purchase a land. This is very important because that land being advertised so sweetly to you could either be a govt acquired land that needs to be developed in 20 years time and you have no idea about it, or it is under a pipe line or power line, restricted area or generally not approved for sale to private individuals or worst still, the property or land is a subject of litigation. If you fail to heed this advice, and not consult an attorney to do a search on the place before you even negotiate about the prices, be rest assured, that property will be demolished or possession will be unilaterally taken away from you. If you dont believe me, ask the people of Alimosho local government who failed to heed this advice 15 years ago and are now burning their fingers.

4. Always confirm the existence of the proposed c/o or certificate of occupancy that has been advertised to you. To tell you the truth, c/o’s are mostly in the possession of the true owner or the authorized agency or lawfirm who has the power of attorney to sell on the owners behalf. Most of the advertised properties dont have a c/o and if they do, they are not in the possession of those advertising it and if they do have one, it is a photocopy of the c/o which is not legally valid because they do not possess the power of attorney to accompany such possession of that c/o.

This is a very delicate issue that a prospective buyer must be wary about because a lot of third or fourth party agents all claim to be agents of properties and sell all sorts of properties with c/o. Without a proper search in the lands registry in alausa by a legal practitioner which costs less than #20,000 including legal fees, your future could be doomed. It costs you nothing to do this very vital investigation before negotiating with a sweet tooth agent promising heaven. All he is interested in is your money and after you pay, you on your own.

5. Always ask for the accompanying survey plan and good root of title. A good root of title is one which traces the history of the property for the last 30 to 40 years so as to know whether the property or land is under a mortgage or there is some form of problem or that the property is squeaky clean free from defect and can be sold. If your agent cannot provide you with the links to this good root of title, please ignore such a property.

6. If you intend to purchase a land that doesnt have a c/o, you should make sure that the seller gives you a proper deed of assignment of that property, a purchase reciept agreement and deed of release which states that the seller will be held liable if the property is defective. This agreement must be stamped by the land registry unless it is invalid.

7. Most properties being sold as family property or properties with family title shouldnt be treated with kids gloves because of the attendant and potential booby traps involved. You must investigate thoroughly before you attempt to purchase one. Most of them come with cheap price tags attached to them but the cheaper the more worrisome especially if a land dispute occurs and the property in question belongs to a third party instead. You might be forced to pay additional millions to the true owner in future.

8. If your a skilled negotiator, you can achieve a 5% reduction in the commission the agent is going to take and 5% in the legal fees from the total amount to be derived from the sale. When ever you hear a property is going for #3 million or #60 million, dont be naive to believe that is the only amount you are going to pay. What you should always ask the agent is the total package for the land or property in question. Dont be fooled by the sweet mouth original offer.

A #3million offer for a land could spiral into this immediately:

10% of #3million =#300,000 (Agency)

10% of #3million =#300,000 (legal)

Search,Perfection of title and governors consent, ground rent and other fees payable to the government
= approximately #500,000 to #1million.

So without even building a block on that land, you could be shelling out almost #4.6 million for a property advertised as #3million for one plot in isheri, talkless of lekki or V.i.

For more on this and how to make sure you get the best deals, search, sale, renting and marketing what so ever in any tenancy or sales of property wherever in lagos except Badagry (because its too damn far, lol), call 08077943514 or 07036681104. Under 72 hours, you will get your specs with valid confirmation. If no valid documents, i immediately advise you to look some where else. My body will not be the temple of insults and swears!!

I don’t do shady property deals without valid confirmation and documents no matter how much its worth in millions or billions because that greed today making the agent or lawyer smile today will defiantely come back to haunt him in 3-5 years time when the police, the people defrauded and the government chases them around the 4 corners of hell to vomit that money. Am a straight shooter and extremely good at this. Only extremely serious prospects should call and please when proposing a budget, think of the total package you intend to spend and not just a round figure that might throw you off balance later, Cheers!

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