With about three million in housing deficits, the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) conceived by the Babatunde Fashola administration was seen as a game-changer in home ownerships by housing experts and prospective homeowners.
However, eight years on, the scheme mooted to encourage home ownership of First-Time Buyer (FTB) to purchase decent and affordable homes through the provision of accessible mortgage finance is dogged by several challenges. The schemes include Michael Otedola estate, Odoragun, Igando, Gbagada, Ibeju-Lekki, Sangotedo and Agbowa-Ketu.
For instance, subscribers of the completed Omole scheme situated just after the Otedola Bridge along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway have not been able to access their homes. An allottee, told The Guardian, that after emerging winner and satisfied all basic requirements, including paying the initial deposits, he was finding it difficult to meet other financial requirements. He expressed dissatisfaction with the scheme on the ground that, the government has reneged on its promise to hand them keys to their apartments, despite satisfying all necessary requirements, including the payment of the mandatory 30 percent asset deposit.
Also, a housing expert said the enthusiasm that greeted the scheme is waning going by tales of woes by subscribers and prospective homeowners. The expert, who pleaded for anonymity, fingered litigation and infrastructure as the major impediments to the full actualisation of homeownership dreams of subscribers.
According to him, there was an agreement at the inception of the Omole Scheme, by the then governor, Fashola, who agreed to build a road and when it was not done residents of the nearby estates in Otedola took the State government to court.
Similarly, there was an issue about ownership of land used for the Gbagada scheme, which also led to court case. Not even the effort of the immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yielded any dividends as the problems still persist. Ambode, who inherited the scheme, had in an attempt to address some of these issues and ease the tension of the recession slashed the price.
For instance, the flat two-bedroom flat, which was N7.2 million, was reduced to N3.5 million, while the one bedroom was reduced to N2.3 million. Also, the room and parlor unit was also reduced to N1.5 million.He also broke down the payment to a yearly payment. Later, he broke it down to a monthly payment scheme to allow residents apply for the scheme specifically when rent-to-own scheme was commenced in December 9, 2017.
Yet with additional 1, 000 additional housing units injected into the pool of housing units earlier provided by the state government, the houses were yet to be fully subscribed, even with the introduction of raffle and other strategies.
Subscribers are still apprehensive that they may not be given keys to their homes. One of them, who gave his name simply as Kunle said many of the apartments are not ready. According to him, some of the estates may appear ready but they lack basic amenities.
However, Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, has urged subscribers to be patient as the issue at Otedola and Gbagada is being resolved. According to him, it is unfortunate but it is being resolved. “There is a court case, we are trying to resolve on Gbagada, and we are almost through. The other one in Omole is all about the Landlord Association.
They were demanding from government to do the surrounding roads. “That is being worked upon. As I speak, the contractors are being paid, they are expected to move to site soon. If the contractor moved to site at we can ask them to go in. The delay in Omole, is not caused by the government it is the landlord association but its being resolved”, he added.
On the lingering legal issue, he said it was delayed because the matter went to arbitration and the issue is the arrangement and understanding on the agreement between the two parties being resolved. We are resolving the issue on ground”, he added.
But, the General Manager of the Lagos State Mortgage Board, Mr. Dehinde Tunwashe could not say much on the situation as the Ministry of Housing is directly involved with the construction and development of the houses.According to him, they are in better position to speak on the matter because they deal directly on the issue.