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Why most houses don’t have C of Os

A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document issued by a local government agency or building department certifying a building’s compliance with applicable building codes and other laws, showing it is suitable for occupancy. But for many reasons, some government departments make the process of acquiring the document so cumbersome that public investors find it difficult to get it.

The procedure and requirements for acquiring the certificates vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and also depends on the type of structure. In the United States, obtaining a certificate is generally required whenever a new building is constructed, when a building built for one use is to be used for another (e.g., an industrial building converted for residential use) and when occupancy of a commercial or industrial building changes or ownership of a commercial, industrial or multiple-family residential building changes ownership.

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The purpose of obtaining a C of O is to prove that, according to the law, the house or building is in liveable condition. Generally, such a certificate is necessary to be able to occupy the structure for everyday use, as well as to be able to sign a contract to sell the space and close on a mortgage for the space. A C of O is evidence that the building complies with the plans and specifications that have been submitted to, and approved by the local authority. It complements a building permit. It is a document that must be filed by the applicant with the local authority before construction to indicate that the proposed construction will adhere to ordinances, codes and laws.

The constitution of Nigeria confers the ownership of all lands in the country on the government. Simply put, all lands in the country belong to the respective state governments. Consequently, to own a piece of land, you have to buy it from the government as it were. When you do that, the government issues you a C of O, which transfers ownership to you, the buyer, for 99 years.

C of O is deemed the most important document to a land owner or property buyer in Nigeria. A C of O is a document issued by state governments in Nigeria to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership. This document also spells out what the land can be used for, either for residential, commercial or mixed development.

The government is constitutionally mandated to issue the C of O because all lands in the state are vested in the Governor of the state. This is clearly spelt out in the Land Use Act 1978. But for obvious reasons, including to make money and frustrate some people’s efforts or to compensate those belonging to the party of government in power, governments make rules that discourage the issuance of C of O to applying publics. But when they decide to give the C of O, they put such a high price that may even be higher than the cost of the land and the property you want to put up there added together. All these are to discourage the light hearted.

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Ordinarily, cost of procuring C of O shouldn’t be a stumbling stone to building houses. But it has denied a lot of people that opportunity and the government is not doing anything about it. Instead of doing something, they only help to compound the problem. If not so, how can government that sings about reducing housing deficits be creating the hurdles that help to increase the deficits? One would want to ask, why is it so important? Owning a parcel of land or property without a C of O is as good as owning a vehicle without a logbook. This is not the kind of situation you want to find yourself in as a landowner or property owner in Nigeria.

Although the importance of C of O cannot be overemphasised. This is because for any building you see, whether a bungalow, duplex, skyscraper or even the foundational stage of a building, the C of O is what signifies legally that you have interest on the land upon which that property is standing. It is a very important document in any land transaction and is issued by the government to the buyer of the land. A C of O is what makes you a lawful interest holder in the land and it also describes the type of use the land can be put to whether commercial, mixed development or residential.

For you to get your title and secure your land or property with a C of O, there are some vital processes you must have to follow. Although the procedures are tedious, they are a matter of must for all blessings to be given. There must be acquisition of land. Since 1978, the major legislation regulating the acquisition of land within the country has been the Land Use Act of 1978, which states that all lands in a state are to be held in trust by the state governor for the benefit of all Nigerians. By law, foreigners may also acquire land wherever it is located in the country from either the state governments or from other holders.

There is the issue of consent. The issue of getting a property can sometimes be very daunting if you have to think about the stress and many processes involved. First, you have to be sure what you are buying is genuine and will not be sold to anyone else after your payment. Then, the deed; as defined in the dictionary, it is a signed document pertaining to the ownership or legal rights of landed property. Ownership, legal rights, property, signed are some of the keywords that stand out here.

Another one is the land title, which the governor of each state announces showing that land owners have no proper land title risks forfeiture. There is what is called the building plan. Every idea starts with the gift of imagination. However, it has been proven that even the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. Imagination needs to be captured, otherwise it becomes a thing of the past.

Nigerian Govt urged to regulate operations of estate agents

Mr Adeolu Ogunbanjo, Chairman of the Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria (AEAN), on Friday appealed to the Federal Government to regulate the operations of estate agents nationwide to check fraudulent practices.

Ogunbanjo told Housing News correspondent in Lagos that the regulation was necessary to restore the confidence of the public in the profession.

He said the activities of fake agents had forced members of the public seeking accommodation to lose confidence in real estate agents.

He said the government could check the trend by mandating estate agents/firms to register with AEAN before they start practicing.

According to him, many prospective tenants have lost millions of naira to fake agents thus tarnishing the image of the profession.

“The profession has become an all-comers’ affair where anyone puts a signpost indicating that he or she is an estate agent.

“If the government issues such a directive and one or more agents are sanctioned for violating the rules, it will serve as deterrent to others,” he said.

According to Ogunbanjo, the profession goes beyond helping people to secure accommodation but involves selling, renting, maintenance and management of properties, among others.

He appealed to the association’s members to always be diligent while dealing with members of the public because their professionalism could help reduce fraudulent practices in the profession.

He urged those yet to register to do so through the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers

National Housing Programme creating employment for youths – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the National Housing Programme initiated by the Federal Government has yielded its first expected result of creating employment for youths.
Fashola said this on Friday in Owerri during an inspection of the National Housing Programme site in Imo State.

He said that the programme was initiated as part of efforts by the Federal Government to get the teeming youths across the country back to work.

“The very first thing that we needed to achieve has been achieved; get people back to work, move the economy back to growth and get the economy out of recession.

“From the food vendors to the number of companies that are employed here, you can see building materials; you can see labour and you can see an ecosystem of growth.

“So, goal one is fulfilled, goal two is completion, goal three is allocation and we will go step by step,” he said.

The minister said that the last goal of the project which would be the fixing the prices for the houses would be determined when the entire project had been completed.

“When we finish, we will look at our records to know how much we spent on the projects: the housing, electrification and roads to know how much of it we are passing to our ultimate consumers.

“We will also determine how much of it is government going to subsidise and how long should they pay.

“Affordability is not only a function of how much it will cost, it is also a function of how convenient the payment system will be,” he said.

Fashola expressed satisfaction with the number of employment generated at the site adding that the entire project was being executed in line with the Federal Government’s local content policy.

According to him, there cannot be any content that is more local than it is in this housing project because we insisted that contractors must use made-in-Nigeria products.

The Imo State Commissioner for Housing, Mr Tony Umezuruike, commended the Federal Government for embarking on the housing project in the state.

Umezuruike said that a project of such magnitude could not be completed without challenges, especially, in the area of land.

The commissioner, however, said that the state government was already in the process of resolving the issues.
“It is actually in progress, people in charge of the process are handling it and in no distant time, the land holding community will smile home,” he said.

Some of the contractors who spoke at the site commended the Federal Government for the National Housing Programme initiative.

One of the contractors, Mr Francis Ogugwa, said the project had resulted in the employment of over 200 youths from the community.

He attributed the fast pace of work on the project to the Federal Government’s commitment to its funding and called for sustained efforts to ensure speedy completion.

Nigeria: World’s Urban Growth Will Surge Most in India, China and Nigeria – UN

By Ellen Wulfhorst

United Nations — “Managing urban growth has become one of the most important development challenges of the current century”

Two-thirds of people in the world will be living in cities by 2050, and the boom will be concentrated in three countries – India, China and Nigeria, according to United Nations estimates released on Wednesday.

The world’s rural population will peak in a few years then decline by 2050, according to the report on urbanization by the Population Division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).

The findings of urbanization advancing so dramatically due to population growth and to migration can help cities design policies and practices to prepare for the influx, said John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division.

“When urban growth is rapid, insuring access to housing, water, sanitation, electricity, public transport, education and health care for all is especially challenging,” Wilmoth said at a U.N. news conference.

“Managing urban growth to insure that it is sustainable has become one of the most important development challenges of the current century,” he said.

Tokyo with 37 million people is the world’s largest city but it is due to be overtaken by Delhi around 2028, the report said.

At about the same time, India is expected to surpass China as the country with the world’s largest total population.

As of today, 55 percent of the world population lives in urban areas, increasing to 68 percent by 2050, the report said.

By 2050, India, China and Nigeria will account for more than a third of the projected growth in the world’s urban population, it said.

Overall, urbanization can be seen as positive, Wilmoth said.

“The increasing concentration of people in cities provides a way of more economically providing services,” he said. “We find that urban populations have better access to health care and education.”

The concentration of population also may help minimize humans’ environmental impact on the planet, he said.

“However, the challenge is that in many countries it’s taking place so rapidly … and large slum areas have developed that are not maybe achieving the goals of sustainable development the way that we would like.”

Among other findings, the report said in 1990 there were just ten megacities with populations of 10 million or more.

As of 2018, there are 33 megacities and by 2030, 43 megacities are projected, mostly in developing countries.

UN DESA’s Population Division said it has been issuing reports on urbanization since 1988.

Shareholders approve N100bn fresh capital for Lafarge

Shareholders of Lafarge Africa Plc as part special resolution at the 59TH Annual General Meeting have endorsed the company’s quest to raise fresh N100 billion for its operations. This is just as the shareholders also approved a dividend payout N1.50 per share to its shareholders valued N13 billion.

The approved dividend represents a 45 kobo increase per share on the 2016 dividend and is payable net of applicable taxes.

They endorsed that subject to the regulatory approval, the Board of Directors are authorized to raise additional capital of up to N100 billion through an offer of debt and/or equity in the domestic and/or international capital markets to be carried out in such manner, at such time, for such consideration and upon such terms and conditions as the Board of Directors may deem fit.


Speaking at the AGM, the Chairman Mr. Mobolaji Balogun said the dividend payout is in appreciation of the support shown by the shareholders so far and a worthy return on their investments.

“The Board of Directors is mindful of the support of all our shareholders through the difficult but necessary journey to transform the company into a more agile and correctly financed business ready to benefit from the potential opportunities in Nigerian building materials (market),” Balogun said at the well-attended AGM of Lafarge Africa Plc.

He also assured shareholders that restructuring of the capital structure of the company largely completed through the past year would help to significantly reduce the cost of financing and currency translation risk.

Balogun added that the company’s recent N131.6 billion Rights Issue, the largest ever Rights Issue in Nigeria which was also fully subscribed, has helped to significantly reduce the FX debt exposure by 50% and the Board of Directors is already reviewing options to deal with the remaining FX debt.

He announced that the company is implementing a new route-to-market initiative aimed at supporting the anticipated growth in demand as the country gradually recovers from recession and as foreign exchange rates stabilise.

Also speaking at the event, the Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Michel Puchercos expressed optimism about the performance of Lafarge Africa Plc during the current year.


He pointed out that the Q1 results for 2018 show stability in the market and operations which have kept revenues steady in the past quarter. “Improvement plans in Nigeria delivered strong operational performance while turnaround actions will be consolidated further in 2018 through energy optimization as well as commercial and logistic improvement,” Mr Puchercos said.

Ambode promises to deliver 14,187 housing units in 2 years

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has promised to deliver 14,187 housing units before the next two years, across the state.

The governor, who spoke yesterday, through Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said this would be achieved through a joint venture partnership, under its housing programme tagged: Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH) initiative.
Through the initiative, he said the state also intends to provide 20,000 housing units over a period of four years, spanning 2017 to 2020.


“This initiative is implemented through a joint venture arrangement between the state and the private investor/joint venture partnership (JVP). Under the initiative, the state provides land, the documentation in terms of permits, approvals, registration of documents and stamping as its contribution to the joint venture, while the JVP provides funds and construction expertise as its contribution.

“In line with the investment policy of Lagos and for the purpose of creating an investment data base, title to the project site is vested in IBILE Holdings Limited, the investment agency of the state government, which will, in turn, grant a deed of sublease of the unexpired residue of its interest to the special purpose vehicle (SPV)/project company, to be incorporated for the purpose of execution and management of the project,” he said.
The SPV/project company, he hinted is made up of both parties and the shareholding would be based on the value of the equity contribution of the parties.

Under the joint venture arrangement, Lawal said 14,187 housing units would be delivered very soon, adding that the Ikota and Ogmbo scheme would deliver 3,300 housing units, being developed by Multi-Purpose Infrastructure Development Construction Limited.

The Ibeshe and Owutu scheme, he noted, would deliver 3,000 housing units by Affordable Mass Housing Company Limited.

Other joint venture partnership arrangements are the Igbogbo Housing Scheme, being developed by M-Bridge Ltd, which will deliver 416 housing units; Ijora-Badiya, being developed by Brains and Hammers Limited will deliver 771 housing units; Imota, Ayobo and Idale scheme by Echostone Management Corp will deliver 2,000 housing units.
So far, Lawal disclosed that seven estates have been completed, with a combined 720 housing units, which included MKO Garden Housing Scheme, Oko Oba Housing Scheme, Mushin Housing Scheme, Ilupeju Housing Scheme, Omole I & II Housing Scheme, Magodo Isheri Housing Scheme and Sir Michael Otedola Estate, Odoragunshin, Epe.

Moshood Adebayo

68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050 – UN

Fifty-five percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, according to the United Nations.

Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations data set launched on Wednesday.

The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) notes that future increases in the size of the world’s urban population are expected to be highly concentrated in just a few countries.

Together, India, China and Nigeria will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2018 and 2050. By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million.

The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. Asia, despite its relatively lower level of urbanization, is home to 54% of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe and Africa with 13% each.

Today, the most urbanized regions include Northern America (with 82% of its population living in urban areas in 2018), Latin America and the Caribbean (81%), Europe (74%) and Oceania (68%). The level of urbanization in Asia is now approximating 50%. In contrast, Africa remains mostly rural, with 43% of its population living in urban areas.

Population decline in some cities and in rural areas

Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years. Most of these are located in the low fertility countries of Asia and Europe where overall population sizes are stagnant or declining.

Economic contraction and natural disasters have also contributed to population losses in some cities. A few cities in Japan and the Republic of Korea (for example, Nagasaki and Busan) have experienced population decline between 2000 and 2018.

Several cities in countries of Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, have lost population since 2000 as well. In addition to low fertility, emigration has contributed to the lower population size in some of these cities. Globally, fewer cities are projected to see their populations decline from today until 2030, compared to what has occurred during the last two decades.

The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak in a few years. The global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion and is expected to rise slightly and then decline to 3.1 billion by 2050. Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90% of the world’s rural population in 2018. India has the largest rural population (893 million), followed by China (578 million).

Cities ranking and mega cities

Tokyo is the world’s largest city with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million, and Mexico City and São Paulo, each with around 22 million inhabitants. Today, Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka all have close to 20 million inhabitants.

By 2020, Tokyo’s population is projected to begin to decline, while Delhi is projected to continue growing and to become the most populous city in the world around 2028.

By 2030, the world is projected to have 43 mega cities with more than 10 million inhabitants, most of them in developing regions. However, some of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations are cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants, many of them located in Asia and Africa. While one in eight people live in 33 mega cities worldwide, close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in much smaller settlements with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants.

Sustainable urbanization is key to successful development

Understanding the key trends in urbanization likely to unfold over the coming years is crucial to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including efforts to forge a new framework of urban development.

As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth, especially in low-income and lower-middle-income countries where the pace of urbanization is projected to be the fastest. Many countries will face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure, as well as for employment and basic services such as education and healthcare. Integrated policies to improve the lives of both urban and rural dwellers are needed, while strengthening the linkages between urban and rural areas, building on their existing economic, social and environmental ties.

To ensure that the benefits of urbanization are fully shared and inclusive, policies to manage urban growth need to ensure access to infrastructure and social services for all, focusing on the needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable groups for housing, education, health care, decent work and a safe.

FG plans 100,000 units annual housing for low income earners

The Federal Government (FG) on Wednesday, unfolded plans to kick-start an annual 100,000 affordable homes for low income earners in the country.

It said this is part of the social housing scheme, which is completely different from the National Housing Programme(NHP) initiated by the current administration.


Minister of State for Power Works and Housing II, Surv Hassan Zarma disclosed this during an inspection of Lafia, National Housing Programme (NHP) among other Power and road projects.

According to him,the houses will be at the sum of N2 million and N5million for one-bedroom and Three-bedroom flats respectively.

As a result, he said low income earners such as artisans, commercial vehicle operators among others would have access to the proposed affordable houses.

He stressed that the housing project initiated by Office of the Vice President will be supported by the Federal Ministry of Finance but entirely different from the current NHP being executed in the 34 states across the Federation.

The Minister, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Initiative on Family Housing Scheme emphasised on a commitment of the current administration to end housing deficits.

His words: “The 100, 000 houses is family home fund that is purely social housing programme. The cost will not be as high as this, it will be much more lower.

“We are thinking of a One-bedroom that will cost N2 million and a Three-bedroom that will cost maximum amount of N5 million.”

The Minister added that, “It will be as simple as possible, as simple as it can be affordable and as simple as it can adapt to our cultural backgrounds.

He applauded progress of work at the Lafia NHP stressing that it will be beneficial to the people.

Earlier, at his visit to the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, he said the 22.5MVA Capacitor Bank in Keffi will increase power in the state while the Loko road and Loko bridge of N51 billion are expected to boost social economic well being of the people and state.

He noted that the usual movement of people and goods through Jos to the South East will cease and it will be from Nasarawa into Taraba State.

He pleaded for more lands for second phase for the NHP, stressing that the state will largely benefit from the scheme.

“As chairman of the Family Homes Fund, directly under the Ministry of Finance, we are appealing for more lands for the project which will benefit your people and Nigerians at large.” He stated.

Al-Makura, who was represented by his Deputy, Silas Agara, in his remarks commended the Federal Government for infrastructure projects in the state.

He described them as an attestation to President Muhammadu Buhari commitment to delivering on his campaign promises.

He said about 13.8 hectares was donated to the Federal Housing Project and restated his commitment to providing additional land for the second phase of the project.

He noted that over N65 million was paid to communities as compensation for the lands donated to the federal government.

Adetola Bademosi

Insist On Professionals, NIESV Urges Investors In Housing Sector

Mr. Rowland Abonta, the National President of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), reiterated that efforts were in high gear to curtail quackery in the housing and construction profession, urging potential investors to always insist on professionals.


NIESV is the highest decision making body for all practising estate surveyors and valuers across the country.

Abonta, who said this at the institution’s 2018 /2019 council year meeting, held in Abuja, also noted that the best approach to solving the housing gap in the country was for government to regulate housing, adding “government should have minimal participation in housing, and there should be consistency in policy and programme of housing in Nigeria.”

He said the move to tackle the issue of quackery became necessary because quacks were misrepresenting the institution by doing what they were not trained to do.

“The issue of quackery is not peculiar to our profession but for our profession we take it seriously because these are people who misrepresent us; who do the work that they are not supposed to do. When you talk about the practice of agency, which is dominant in the housing sector, those you call quacks include even other professionals who decide to do what they were not trained to do. And so we are making every effort to make sure that we curtail their activities. Whether it will be possible to eradicate quackery in Nigeria, I am not sure that can be achieved but we want to reduce it to the barest minimum through advocacy, letting people know who to go to when they need services in housing, and also letting people know the role of our profession in the housing sector.”

He added that already the institution had established the Association of Registered Estate Agents of Nigeria, which aims to retrain those who studied estate Survey and Value but are not truly qualified as professionals. He stressed that such trainings provide requisite skills to enable them practise in the right way.

Abonta said the institution was also opening up to other professionals who are interested in the field through the Association of Estate Agencies of Nigeria to have them trained, regulated and properly controlled, to reduce the menace that bring bad name to the institution.

The NIESV boss noted that the state of housing in the country was still lacking in different ways in terms of adequacy, stressing that the nation needs to do a lot more in order to fill the housing gap for its teaming population.

Expert urges youths to aspire to own homes

Mrs. Ibukun Adebayo-Adedayo, a financial adviser, has urged the youths to embrace the mortgage policy to own their homes early in life instead of paying rents for the better part of their lives.

She explained that money spent on rent payment could be better channeled in mortgage finance in order to own a home and live a stable and accomplished life.


She told  Housing News that young Nigerians should start planning to own their houses at age 30 and from the moment of their first employment..

Adebayo-Adedayo, a medical doctor, noted that, “home ownership is crucial to financial freedom, increases net-worth, provides rental savings, and increases investment and leverage potential’’.

She spoke on house ownership by middle income earners and explained: “Imagine planning to own your home by the time you are 30 years old; and beginning to work towards it from the time of getting your first job’.

“Having a space that is truly yours signals stability and accomplishment.’’

Discouraging youths from sinking into rent payment syndrome, Adebayo-Adedayo said that the amount going for rent payment could be invested in mortgage payment for eventual ownership of a property.

“Have you ever thought about paying in mortgage rentals, the same amount you would have paid in rent; or just slightly higher? But the property is yours, appreciating annually; sometimes having the value appreciation on your house exceeding your annual mortgage payments,’’ she stressed..

She urged youths to focus on buying homes with convenient payment plan or on a mortgage, noting that with a payment plan for ownership, “you begin to pay yourself rather than paying your landlord.

“If well planned, and with the right advisor, when you combine the annual rental savings (rent that you would have paid for living in a similar property), with annual capital appreciation (increase in the house value) of the house purchased, mortgage rental payments would be less (even in the Nigerian high interest rate regimes).

“This implies that, if well structured, value addition is greater than value expended on annual mortgage rentals; plus the sense of security and stability that owning your home delivers which is unquantifiable intangible value.

“In contrast, house rent is plain vanilla expenditure which provides the renter with no returns, asides providing you a place to lay your head, and in addition, all further expenditure on house repairs and maintenance also hold no long term value for the renter. Finally, rent puts you at the mercy of the house owner with respect to major house repairs, and rental rates,’’ she emphasised..

“Many young people and families shove home ownership aside as a task for the future and resort to paying rents perpetually.

“The youths must look at the options available, speak to real estate advisors and work with experts in the industry to find an easy approach to own a home.

She counselled against the perception that “the process of buying a first home is daunting and not easily surmountable,’’ noting that with increased awareness, education and advocacy information about ease of owning a home will make the process appear less arduous. ‘

“Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that, when appropriately planned and structured, the hurdles of home ownership become significantly less and easier to transcend, Adebayo-Adedayo noted..

Ibukun Adedayo, is a medical doctor turned financial advisory expert with a penchant for real estate finance and an advocate for home ownership for middle income earners.

By Biola Lawal

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