As property scams rise, experts unveil plan to tackle threat – Property – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Once again fraudsters are on the prowl, exploiting the desperation of future landlords and tenants to get a roof over their heads and cheaper accommodation to scam them.
With the huge housing deficit, about 22 million and the rising cost of rental housing, there has been an upsurge in fraud schemes. The arrival of online platforms and money transfers in the banking sector has increased the risks.
Social media has also been hit hard as different groups and websites have been created to harass members, including using multi-level marketing. In some circumstances, victims were tricked into paying deposits or money for properties or buying non-existent properties in major cities.
The scam in real estate transactions occurs in different ways. Someone claiming to be the seller and trying to negotiate a sale may not actually be the owner or someone claiming to be the owner and trying to rent the property may not be the verifiable owner.
In another case, the representatives of the seller or the owner do not have the mandate to exercise the activity of sale or rental as the case may be. You will discover that a transaction is a scam when you seek to find out more about the identity of the person selling/renting or the authority of the representatives of the seller/owner.
In Nigeria, senior Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials could determine the amount lost over a five-year period, but believe the financial loss is huge. Property surveyors and appraisers, as well as the Property Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), are aware of the danger; solutions offered, consumers can take steps to reduce their exposure to scams.
REDAN chairman Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko told the Guardian that members of the association are not implicated in such crimes, adding that REDAN has helped recover monies paid to some unscrupulous developers.
According to him, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, which was passed in November 2021 and was drafted by REDAN, along with other well-meaning institutions like the Economic and Financial Intelligence Unit of the The EFCC (NFIU), Special Money Laundering Control Unit (SCUML) is one way to reduce the threat.
Wamakko said the Bill “brings property development activity in Nigeria into line with international best practice and protects the ultimate interest of all stakeholders in the business, curbs fraudulent practices in property development activity in the country.
A property surveyor and managing partner, Ubosi Eleh and his company, Mr. Chudi Ubosi, said the high number is related to the higher number of people looking for a home to buy or rent.
“It is a fallout from the difficult economic situation, particularly with regard to residential real estate transactions. There is increased pressure on the housing stock and more desperation from the prospects of securing affordable properties,” he said.
Ubosi said the way to reduce the threat is to encourage prospects to ask relevant questions about the property, the agent and everyone involved in the transaction.
“It’s also important to ask neighbors about a property just to be sure there aren’t any issues that have been overlooked. Using the right professionals linked to a professional body, like the Nigerian Institution of Property Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) will be advised.
“And of course the long-known mantra – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Caution is key. Never pay cash for trades, no matter how pressured.
For Mr. Sam Eboigbe, the former president of the Estate Agency and Marketing faculty, a division of NIESV, “it is necessary to undertake due diligence to verify the authenticity of the transaction. When buying, you must confirm ownership and pay attention to all relevant title documents.
“When renting or renting, be sure to pay the owner or designated agent with an official mandate to process the transaction. Avoid the pitfall of prompt payment and the syndrome of heavily discounted prices. of troubled transactions, but these must be accompanied by verifiable evidence.
Ubosi advised the government to prosecute as much as possible anyone involved in these practices. “There has to be the deterrent factor. Increasing title deeds and documentation of ownership will make it easier to identify ownership,” he added.
Eboigbe said the appropriate arm of government should expedite policy formulation by empowering laws to regulate the practice and control of real estate agencies. “This should be done in collaboration with NIESV, who are trained professionals with the knowledge and experience to engage industry stakeholders at different levels.
“Look for professionals with knowledge and experience in the area to hire. Professionals to hire are Chartered Land Surveyors and Appraisers. They have a way of doing due diligence on properties for sale or rent before making listings public and then engaging potential buyers and tenants,” he advised.