PROBLEM OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT IN LAGOS STATE
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Property management is an act of intermediation between owners and occupies on issues affecting the parties arising from ownership and occupation of buildings. It is a conscious process of guiding and tailoring an investment in land into profitable venture. Its main concern is the optimization of the owners investment (Scarrett, 1995). The practice is however prone to a lot of problems which are capable of preventing or at best reducing the chances of realizing anticipated investment objective. In other words, the achievement or success of the art of nursing and directing an investment in landed property with a view to obtaining maximum return is a function of how well a property manager is able to effectively prevent and/or overcome seeming obstacles in the course of the discharge of its duties. As different from commodity, the deliverable in property management is service. The property manager advises the client concerning the general client policy regarding cooperation and compensation and as to the best and appropriate choice of tenants for the building. He takes decision on the best term of lease arrangement and appropriate terms of renewal. In addition to being aware of pending or enacted changes in the zoning ordinance that might affect the market value or use of property being managed, he should be informed as rapidly and thoroughly as feasible about laws, proposed legislation, government regulations, public policies and current market conditions.
Property managers seem to be of more relevant in the current economic dispensation. The global collapse of the capital market with its attendants effects, which has not spared African countries like Nigeria, are seen to be compelling investors to redirect their investment ventures into real estate, especially with visible foreign and local investments in commercial properties. These are properties acquired for the purposes of yielding regular inflow of income to investors. Commercial properties are often relatively large and complex buildings some of which are multi-storeyed or high rise type. The complexity involved in terms of the bigness of the structure and diverse and multiple occupants informed the need for specialized skill and training for efficient and effective service delivery.
The many and varied duties of a property manager require the skills of a business executive, decorator, salesperson, parking lot attendant, gardener, housekeeper, information center, accountant, banker, doctor, lawyer, social director, psychologist, marriage counselor, baby sitter, bookkeeper, rent collector, maintenance expert, security officer, keeper of the keys, telephone operator, messenger service, and complaint department. The manager must also be softspoken, fast-moving, poised, quick-thinking, non-tiring, ever-available, mechanicalminded, all-knowing and never-ailing. This “expert” knows how to visit without visiting, sell without selling, see without judging, hear without repeating – and all without having time for an uninterrupted meal. The property manager has a dual responsibility: to the owner or client who is interested in the highest return from the property; and to the tenants, who are interested in the best value for their money, including reasonable safety measures and compliance with fair housing laws.
Property management, according to Scarett (1995) must be based on the terms of the contractual agreement between the parties on the one hand, on an appreciation and interpretation of the particular owners objective on the other hand. This thus requires a high degree of compliance with the provisions and terms as well as performance on the part of the parties. The in-ability of any of the parties to perform fully or in part his/her own part of the agreement brings about management problems. Management problems hinders effective operations of property management activities. Depending on the magnitude of the problems, ineffective service delivery could bring about client dissatisfaction as well as prevent the achievement of the owners’ investment objective(s). The ‘expert’ property manager could therefore be seen to be negligent and/or incompetent if unable to achieve the objectives of income generation which is the main goal of an investment in commercial property.