The Nigerian housing market to all intents and purposes is an evolving market. It is evolving within an unstructured framework as there are no real working laws and regulations to cover the whole property industry. The few laws and regulations that have been put in place are not strictly enforced with no proper monitoring structure in place. I guess if we were to analyse this industry properly we will find that the problems with the property and building industry as with a lot of other industries is largely due to the lack of importance placed on legislation, weak enforcement and the mindset of the people. I believe that if these can be taken care of, then we will see proper working structures enhancing and growing the property market.In the UK, before you do anything, there are laid down processes to follow and swift penalties if these are breached. Everyone there knows this, the laws are available and known to all, builders, artisans and users all have a duty to understand the law before they start work. The Developer and Estate Agent have a duty to let the client know what their rights are and how they are covered by their purchase. Everything is transparent and regulated from the price of building materials, salaries and house prices. House prices abroad in a certain area and of a certain size commands roughly the same price in sales and rent despite the finishing and decoration, but here in Nigeria, it is not unusual to find a three bedroom apartment in Lekki1 selling for N50m and a similar apartment next door asking for N70m because the landlord used Dulux paint! As there are so many ”developers” and landlords now in the property market who were previously into other professions but have some money in the bank and want to maximise their income, the property market seems to be the most lucrative at present. There is a lack of adequate training for many of these new fortune seekers who do not know how to select Surveyors, Architects and builders or know the difference between them. As a result we have some terribly built properties on the market that are sold to innocent investors who sooner or later will count their losses or spend many more millions bringing the property up to some decent liveable standard. In some unfortunate circumstances, these properties are rented out for two years or more and the tenants left to do all the repair works. The Lagos Tenancy Law has provisions to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords, but not many tenants are still aware of this or how to start the legal process.
Many countries like America, Asia, Dubai, parts of Europe and the UK have gone through their own housing boom and crash and have developed robust systems for monitoring and controlling their systems. Maybe we need to go through our own unique mistakes to learn what works for us instead of just copying and pasting their own structures which are so inherently different from ours.