Examination of the impact of quacks on real estate agency practice in IMO state



Agency is the creation of a contract entered into by mutual consent between a principal and an agent. By agency, a principal grants authority to an agent to act on behalf of and under the control of the principal. Such relationship could be established when principals are convinced that the involvement of agents will produce more effective returns usually due to their vintage in training, commitment and conversance in the prescribed endeavor. Its application is in various spheres of life. However, in real estate practice, where the market is lacking in information, the role of an estate agent cannot be overemphasized. Estate agency is the act of liaising between two parties to bring about the transfer of an interest in landed property either by outright assignment or the creation of an interest in the form of a lease or term of years (Akomolede, 2006). Estate Agency is one of the most lucrative aspects of Estate Surveying and Valuation practice as it produces good income (Idudu, 2014). It may be pejorative to refer to Estate Surveyors as ‘estate agents’ but many estate firms are sustained by the income from estate agency. Estate agency which comprises of purchases, sales and lettings is keenly competed for by all other professionals – lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, teachers, unemployed and all manner of people (Idudu, 2014).

Professionals have continued to criticize the involvement of charlatans in estate agency by pinpointing the negative effects their activities (Quackery) constitute to the society which include but not limited to arbitrary rent increase, non-remittance of rents to property owners, abnormal charges on prospective tenants (Idudu, 2014). Idudu, (2014) further stated that in spite of clear declarations as regards the practice of estate agency, Estate Surveyors and Valuers have not been able to exclude non-Estate Surveyors and Valuers (Charlatans) from its practice. Nemieboka, (2010) while commenting on the negative implications of the involvement of quacks in the housing sector in Nigeria disclosed that there is no legislation outlawing quacks from agency in the country. “It is an all comers affair as it were and anybody can go to the Corporate Affairs Commission and say that he is a property agent, the commission will register the person” he revealed.

However, the Solanke (2010)’s Mathematical Model for Professional Survival sighted in Oni and Adebayo (2012) has become an issue of great concern. The model predicts the period within which profession of Architecture, Estate management, and Building construction would lose their relevance in Nigeria. It predicts if the present situation does not change, Estate Management would lose relevance within the next 21 years.

The notion of professionalism is based upon a practitioner in whatever vocational field to serve not only his client but also the society at large.

This implies the need to maintain a high degree of ethical responsibility and conduct, because integrity must be the watch word for any profession. Thus the attainment of professional status involves a discipline of study, a compilation of knowledge and a basis of trust coupled with practical experience. However, the more diversified the field of practice, the less likely it becomes for high professional codes and standards to be maintained and therefore estate agency in particular can present problems.

Agency can be referred to as the business of representing or providing a particular service for people or organizations while an agent is a person who acts on behalf of another with respect to a particular transaction, also an agent as somebody who officially represents somebody else in business or somebody who provides a particular service for another. On the other hand, Real Estate, in broad definition, refers to land and everything fixed permanently a part thereof, and the nature and extent of one’s interest therein. In law, the word real, as it relates to property, means land as distinguished from ersonal property; and estate is defined as the interest one has in property. Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 defined estate agency practice as acting or holding oneself out to the public as ready to act, for a commission, fee, reward or other consideration, as an agent in respect of the sale or other disposal of land and buildings and of any interest therein or the purchase or other acquisition of land and buildings and of any interest therein or in respect of the leasing or letting of land and buildings and of any interest therein.

Ibiyode(2009) in an interview with the Saturday Tribune refers to an untrained and unregistered member of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) practising estate agency as a quack. Over the years, real estate agency practice has witnessed the influx of both professionals and non-professionals alike. Registered Estate Surveyors and Valuers, lawyers that serve as solicitors, property consultants, mortgage institutions, land vendors and uneducated intermediaries are found in estate agency business (Opalana, 2009).

Akomolede (2006) makes the point that it is only idle and unsuccessful lawyers who leave their own profession to dabble into estate agency. He further explained that butchers, mechanics, drivers, accountants, lawyers, teachers, students, security guards, even idle housewives and just about anybody can dabble into the practice for the purpose of earning a commission.

Statistics derived by Akpoyibo ( 2009) shows that in the past 5 to 8 years, fraudsters, operating under the cover of estate developers, estate agents, property consultants and management, among other business names, have taken over the city of Lagos, duping and bringing misery and confusion into the lives of their victims. Some of their methods are quite sophisticated, they would place advertisements in the print and electronic media, use bill boards and even print hand bills to announce vacancies for flats, self-contained apartments to let or even land and houses for sale (Akpoyibo, 2009).

This situation has seriously affected the image of practicing Estate Surveyors whereby owners of properties have handed over sales and lettings of their different properties to agents who in most cases are not reliable and do not have legal rights to carry out such activities and who cannot follow up the monitoring and proper maintenance of their client’s properties.

In such cases the owner of the properties is at risk of bad tenant and poor maintenance which results in loss of client’s money. In the course of reading all this, the researcher was prompted to find out in what way has the activities of quacks affected Real Estate Profession with special focus on real estate agency and property dealings in Lagos Island and its environs due to its high volume of letting and sales transactions.

Statement of Research Problem

According to Akomolede (2006), the biggest problem facing the estate agency business in Nigeria today is the absence of regulation, there is no enabling law under which estate agents are registered and controlled; the danger is that the profession in its present state allows for the intrusion of all kinds of quacks. Another main problem with the current system is that there is no requirement to belong to a regulatory body in order to set up and practice as an agent.

Estate agents may choose to become members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the National Association of Estate Agents, and it’s a good idea to check for their membership of these bodies when choosing one to work on your behalf. Crime Watch investigations published in the PM News (17th September, 2009) revealed that most of the properties advertised for rent or lease do not exist, and where they exist, people are joining hundreds of other victims to line the greedy pockets of these criminals.

It was also revealed that between last year and today, over 1,000 house seekers in Lagos State have been duped by these con men, while several millions of naira has been lost. Some families have lost their entire life savings and some have faced destitution through the activities of these rogues. This study’s greatest concern is the fact that more and more house seekers are falling into the hands of these quacks and several millions of naira is fraudulently collected on a daily basis from Lagosians. The major questions this study intends to answer therefore include: i.

What laws have been in place to control the activities of quacks in Nigeria? ii. What are the effects of quacks on Real Estate Practice ? iii. What can be done to minimize their activities?

Aim and Objectives of Study

The main aim of this study is on Examination of the impact of quacks on real estate agency practice in IMO state


  • To examine the Factors that Contribute to Quackery in Estate Agency Practice in Imo state
  • To examine the Prevalence of the Activities of Quacks
  • To investigate the Consequences of Quackery in Estate Agency Practice

Significance of the Study

Several writers have partly examined the impacts and effects of quacks on estate agency practice. In relation to their individual studies, this study will examine all aspect of quackery related activity by identifying who these quacks are, also by examining the laws that regulates the practice of estate agency as well as suggesting possible solutions to this menace.

This project will serve as an incentive especially to students currently studying estate management and for those whose specialty would be estate agency because it will assist in properly orienting them as propective estate surveyors, and also to the public letting them know who they can relate with and how to identify Estate Surveyors and Valuers. This study is also important because it would reveal the activities of quacks/non-professionals in estate agency, thus enabling the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers to be in a good position to fashion out new codes of conduct for its members and find ways of dealing with quacks.

This research is to enable the readers understand why and how these quacks operate under the covering of estate developers, estate agents, property consultants and management, this is because it has been noticed by Crime Watch investigations that these quacks have taken over the city of Lagos, duping and bringing misery and confusion into the lives of their victims. A detailed study that would undergo the complete research requirements would no doubt minimize, if not eradicate the activities of quacks in estate agency practice.

This is what this study intends to achieve in addition to promoting patriotism of agency surveyors in the property market. This research will go a long way in abolishing the activities of quacks and also letting the public know who specifically they can relate with and how to identify them, also prevent the public from entering into wrong hands.

Scope of the Study

No matter how ambitious a researcher could be, no single study can be all encompassing. Hence, study limits have to be defined clearly. In this view his study focuses on the the impact of the activities of quacks on the practice of Real Estate Profession in Nigeria. Estate agency is choosen amongst other aspects of real estate profession, because the other aspects of the profession needs licensing before one can practise, basically an eatate agent do not need professional qualifications to practice. Also the activities of the quacks affect more people at the lower rung of social and economic ladder. However, time constraint does not allow for the coverage of the entire country.

For this reason, the scope of this research is restricted to Lagos Island, because it is known to be a commercial area and it plays host to the main government buildings, shops and offices. Lagos Island contains a central business district and this district is characterized by high-rise buildings where all sort of activities take place, most commercial and financial businesses are transacted and also where different professionals are based, and also because it is vast and has a lot of estate firms within the area

Study Area

The study is limited to Imo state. The researcher selected this area because of this proximity to get the needed data for the study.

Limitations of the study

The research is designed such that it identifies the impact of the activities of quacks on the practice of real estate profession and also proffer solutions so identified. However, the limitation of the research is borne on the fact that covering the entire state was not possible, thus, an area was selected for the purpose of this research. Other limitations include financial constraints, time constraints, transportation problems, limited exeat from the school premises and the target populace in giving information as regards the subject matter.

Definition of terms

In a study of this nature, it is considered necessary and desirable to define key terms with a view to clarifying both operational and constructive definitions to avoid ambiguity. Constructive definition involves substituting the concept or construct of the term we are defining with other concepts or constructs, the operational definition requires that the concept or construct be assigned a type of meaning which the researcher wants to carry throughout the study.

Agent: An “agent”, broadly defined, is a person who affects the legal relations of another person, called the “principal”.

The agent can affect the legal relations of the principal in several ways but does so primarily through entering into contractual relationships on behalf of the principal. If, for example, A (as agent) enters into a contract with X on behalf of P (the principal), A having disclosed to X that she is acting on behalf of P, the contract will be a contract between X and P (and not a contract between X and A). The principal can also be vicariously liable for the torts committed by the principal’s agent.

Estate agent: is a person that represents some other person in property or land dealings. He could provide land and property related services which moslty include the sales, letting or management of land and buildings. An agent that specialises in Letting/Sales transaction is called an agency surveyor.

Principal: is one who authorises and controls the actions of the estate agent. In commercial law, a principal is a person legal or natural–who authorizes an agent to act to create one or more legal relationships with a third party.

Disclosed principal is a class of principal, where at the time of the transaction made by the Agent with the Third Party, the latter knows that the person he is dealing with is acting as an Agent and also knows the Principal’s identity. Partially disclosed principal is a class of principal where, at the time of the transaction, the Third Party knows that the person he is dealing with is acting as an Agent acting but does not know the Principal’s identity and undisclosed principal, the person acting as an Agent represents is acting on their own behalf and does not disclose the existence of the agency relationship.

This is usually because the Principal is wealthy and believes that money can be saved on the proposed deal if their involvement is hidden.

Quack: is someone who pretends to have a professional knowledge (which he does not possess), he is also a person who generally claims to have knowledge in real estate while he does not. He has not undergone any professional training and naturally will not work in the capacity of a manager

Property: is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of persons.

Important widely recognized types of property include real property (land), personal property (physical possessions belonging to a person), private property (property owned by legal persons or business entities), public property (state owned or publicly owned and available possessions) and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc), although the latter is not always as widely recognized or enforce.

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