Court Affirms Lagos Govt’s Powers to Regulate Real Estate Transactions

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has affirmed the powers of the Lagos State Government to regulate the practices of real estate transactions within the state.

In a statement signed by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), a judgment delivered on March 22, 2021 by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, struck out the originating motion filed by the Estate Surveyors And Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) and the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors And Valuers (NIESV) to challenge Lagos State Government’s authority to regulate the market sector.

The applicants – ESVARBON and NIESV had filed the suit against the Lagos State Government and the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who were listed as first and second respondents, respectively.

The first applicant claimed that as the ‘sole body’ created by the law in Nigeria to determine persons who are to become Estate Surveyors and Valuers by virtue of Section 2 of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria Act Cap E13 LFN 2007 and Section 1 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, it was unconstitutional for the state government to create an entity known as the Lagos State Estate Agency Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) that compels registration of all Estate Surveyors and Valuers practicing in the state.

The applicants had also argued that under Section 4 (6) – (9) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) or any other Section or Schedule of the same Constitution, the Lagos State House of Assembly lacked the legislative power to enact bill to regulate the practice of estate surveying and valuation.

Consequently, the applicants sought an order of the court restraining the respondents whether by themselves, agents, servants and/or privies from implementing, enforcing, in any way or manner whatsoever and howsoever giving effect or further effect to the directives of compulsory registration with Lagos State Government.

They also asked the court to restrain the respondents from continuing to interfere or usurp the office or statutory duties of the 1st applicant as provided for by the Law under any guise whatsoever and howsoever in the registration or regulation of the 2nd applicant’s members in Lagos State.

Besides, the applicants urged the court to award N10, 000,000 against the respondents being the cost for prosecuting the action in Court.

In a considered judgment, Justice Aneke struck out the originating motion and upheld the powers of the Lagos State Government to establish a Regulatory Agency for Estate Agents trading in Lagos State.

By the ruling, the Lagos State Government called on all practitioners to abide by the Lagos State Estate Agency Regulatory Authority Law and register.

According to the government, “the Law is to protect the general public and ensure genuine persons and organisations possess the required platform to practice their trade.”