1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos
The Lagos State Government Monday , sealed off the major entrance into 1004 Estate in Victoria Island to compel its managers to pay outstanding land use charge.
The temporary closure caused hectic traffic on Ademola Adetokunbo Road because the exit gate of the estate became the sole entry and exit point.
General Manager of 1004 Estate Limited, which sold and managed the estate, Mr. Sam Ukpong, confirmed to THISDAY on phone, that the entrance gate was sealed temporarily by the state government because they owed it outstanding money for land use charge.
“Yes, it was sealed off by Lagos State Government for non-payment of outstanding land use charge. They have a collection agency that goes around collecting the charge,” he said.
Ukpong said the gate was reopened after the company promised to remit more money.
“We are a responsible organisation. 1004 Estate has sold all the apartments to 1,000 owners and these owners under the sub-lease we gave to them are the ones responsible for paying the land use charge, ground rent and insurance on their property,” he said.
He said they were given the bill for 2010/2011 last year and that “we paid the bill on behalf of the flat owners in one cheque to Lagos State and it came up to almost N30 million.”
After they paid, the owners were informed and asked to refund their share to 1004 Estate Limited. “We told them that these are statutory payments on the land use charge, ground rent and insurance and that they should please remit the money we paid on their behalf. We gave them a breakdown what each person will pay, but up till now, they money is only partially remitted,” he said.
He said they presently do not have any money to pay to Lagos since that money was never part of the service charge, because they are statutory payment due to the government that should be paid by the apartment owners.
He said in respect of 2012 payment that was due, they put the bill as part of the service charge for easy administration but that some tenants refused to pay arguing that it was not part of the service charge and directed them to their landlords and apartment owners.
He said the tenants got it wrong, because in every tenancy agreement, there is a clause that says the tenant would pay all statutory charges and that signing this clause makes it binding on them to pay the charges.
He said when such arguments came up, they resorted to using the apartment as a unit of administration regardless of whoever occupied it.
“Sometimes we disconnect flats from services to enforce payment,” he explained.
The Lagos State Government, he said, was given a list of all apartment owners to enter into direct transactions with them but that the government still brought the bill to 1004 Estate Limited.