Issues and Setbacks in Real Estate Practice

This article is about the issues and setbacks in real estate practice in many cities in Nigeria, it is recommended for real estate players in the built environment and all lovers of property.

Real estate practice requires skills, experience and dedication; particularly in property management, agency, and valuation among other practices. To stand tall in the practice of real estate, one must act with due diligence and hard work, unfortunately, this is not the case for some practitioners who act lackadaisically on salient professional matters that require prompt reaction.

Some property managers breach the duty of care owed to tenants such as laxity in responding to maintenance or repair of failing building components which poses threats to the lives of tenants, acting incompetently on matters relating to rent review, rent renewal, termination of tenancy, misplacement of sensitive documents, failure to follow and observe rules and regulation guiding and regulating the practice such as extreme laziness that leads to inconsistency in management responsibilities and withholding vital information from tenants which is peculiar with unprofessional property managers in Nigeria, the consistent act of negligence in property management has caused a lot of friction between property managers and tenants some of which creates property voids and loss of profit.

The Shortfalls in Real Estate Practice

Incidences of avoidable errors (typographical, calculations and improper description) in appraisal reports and unverified information disclosed to prospects in agency practice amount to more problems facing the profession in Nigeria.

Many property owners have taken over management of their property due to mistrust of the public of some property managers or agents over breach of duty of care, translating to doubt on the credibility of services provided by them, this is predominant in the practice of real estate agency (sales and lettings) which sometimes discrepancies in professional opinions such as irregularities in ascertaining market rents, inaccurate description of accommodations and market trends, inability to distinguish fake title documents among others raises questions to the credence on trainings and skills that the profession boasts of.

Management of property (commercial and residential) which requires high technical and intellectual skills is on the verge of losing public trust as young property managers rather than painstakingly learning from their principals, carry out management in a lowly and unprofessional manner such as failing to properly differentiate between landlords and tenants responsibilities by so doing creates lots of tensions and disputes for their firms.

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This is no different from what quacks are likely to do. Most of all is the total neglect of relevant laws or rules that guide the profession of property management which has allowed for errors in the discharge of duties.

The errors made by some property managers are associated with the rising complaints from tenants and incessant tenant–management dialogues to resolve problems.

It is pitiable how many property owners still use the services of unprofessional property managers and agents amidst the growing rate of inconsistency displayed in carrying out simple tasks that require some diligence or carefulness.

I wrap up this article by suggesting that property owners should endeavour to carefully scrutinize property agents and managers before engaging them to manage their property. It is highly recommended that qualified estate surveyors with some years of experience and goodwill are best fit to carry out the management of property or perform major real estate appraisals, particularly on large properties.

Property management is a serious business and is handed over to the best hands to safeguard the property and the occupants in it (duty of care) and significantly improve the annual turnover on the property.

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