Professionals under the auspices of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have bemoaned the Lagos State Government for adjusting property values in 2018 upward without valuation exercise for the reenacted Land Use Charge (LUC).
Besides, the institute raised concerns over other areas of the law, which include the relief rate (RR), Land Use Charge (LUC) rate and the depreciation rate (DR) to arrive at the amount payable under the new property tax.
Speaking at a meeting between the organised private sector (OPC) and Lagos government officials, Chairman of NIESV, Lagos branch, Mr. Olurogba Orimolade, appealed to the government to conclude the valuation exercise before adjusting assessment figures based on valuation.
To enhance further engagement of the institute, Orimolade suggested an upward review of the relief rates to accommodate provision for maintenance cost and other outgoings.
He said: “It must be noted that most of the payers can only pay from the property income, therefore the land use charge rate should take cognisance of rental trend, which in most locations is either stagnant or going southwards.
“We will suggest a holistic review of the charge rate to take account of the above, which speaks to affordability.”
The new Land Use Charge Law (LUCL) 2018, which applies to real and landed property in the state, seeks to consolidate all property and land-based rates/charges into a single property charge and sets modalities for levying and collection of land use charge in the state.
Orimolade described the rates adopted for depreciation as “most inappropriate,” arguing that the rate could be as high as 40 per cent depending on the age and repair state of the property.
“Depreciation consists of elements of obsolescence and dilapidation.”
He said that it was also observed that rise in the rates had significant cut into the annual rental income, which could be generated from some properties.
“This makes payment of this annual charge (LUC) difficult. This could also lead to increase in rents by landlords to meet up with the tax weight while being a disincentive for new real estate developments,” the Lagos’ NIESV boss said.
Orimolade called on the state government to have a mechanism to limit the amount payable within highly reduced percentage of the net annual rental income on assessed property as a benchmark.
For sake of transparency and best practices, he urged that when valuation is concluded, a valuation list should be produced and displayed in each local government area for all stakeholders to see.
He said: “This will reduce perception of arbitrariness and increased compliance. It makes it easier for stakeholders to compare their assessment with that of neighbouring properties.
“We have articulated key suggestions and grey areas with contradictory provisions, which we would be recommending to the government when we meet for dialogue.”
He stated that the association was aware of the government’s efforts to commence enumeration exercise in the state, describing it as a “welcome development.”
He added that the process would help the government obtain real values of the property while providing necessary data on housing stock in the metropolis.
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