When it comes to Land Use Charge (LUC) matters in Lagos Nigeria, many people are not smiling. If you have ever had an enforcement team of the Lands Use Charge Company pay you a visit on non compliance with the land Use Charge Act before, then you probably know what I am talking about.
Every year, bills are generated by the Lands Records Company (LRC) of Lagos (the outsources agency of the Lagos State Government with the sole mandate to discharge and apply the 2001 Land Use charge law of Lagos) based on the assessments done for every property in Lagos Nigeria and circulated to all property owners in Lagos. This is usually done between January and February of every year.
Once you have your bill, your next course of action should include one or some of the following:
1.) Go and pay!!! Once you get your bill and you don’t see any discrepancy, the most reasonable course of action is to go and pay immediately. This usually attracts some very good discount from the body thereby saving you some money. However, late payment of your bill also attracts some penalty after every quarter.
2.) Inform them of your payment plan: When it comes to LUC bills, the higher the value of your property, the higher your assessment which translates to huge bills. So, if you have a number of properties in prime locations of the State, you know you are looking at some very high bills every year (especially if your properties are being used for commercial purposes). However, there no need to panic, once you get your bills, and you don’t have the funds at the moment to offset the bills, please write the agency to inform them of your payment plans. Contrary to what many people think of this body, they are actually very reasonable.
Once this has been done, plan towards payment and don’t default on your plan.
3.) Cases of Discrepancies: Like any organization, this body is also makes mistakes. Upon receipt of your bill, if you notice any error in their computation or non credited payment, you’re not to keep quite on this till the enforcement team reaches your property. At this point, they don’t listen to any excuses (even if its valid) you’ll be accused of not making an official complaint on same and your property would be sealed. However, once you have made your complaint, they cannot carry out enforcement actions against your property until all pending issues have been resolved.
4.) Billing of vacant properties: You may not know this but this agency (LRC) also carries out routine investigations to find out the use of a property (i.e. commercial or residential) and the typical rental rates in various locations (for commercial properties). So, in cases of vacated premises, they LRC may not know your property has been fully or partly vacated. In this case, you have to inform them so they can hold bills for your property if it is currently generating no revenue or at worst reduce your bill reasonably. If you don’t do this, your bills will continue and before long (if you can’t pay) your property would be sealed by them.
5.) Non Receipt of Bills: Most people are glad when they don’t get their LUC bills. Mind you, this does not imply that it was not issued and before long you would be getting some unwanted visitors coming to seal your property. In addition to your property being sealed, you would have been fined for every quarter (fines you would also have to pay before your property is unsealed). The remedy here is to go to the Land Use Charge office or visit their website (www.landusecharge.com) to request for your bills at the beginning of the year to avoid unnecessary embarrassments later on.
So, there you have it, go along with the guidelines above and you would be fine as long as LUC is concerned. Remember, these are not the kind of people you want to owe as they can be really merciless when it comes to debt recovery.