Lagos’ land use charge – All You Need to Know (A Must Read)

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The Lagos State Land Use Charge (LUC) is a consolidation of all property and land based rates and charges payable under Lands Rates, Neighborhood Improvement Charge and Tenement Rates Laws of Lagos State. The Land Use Charge derives its legitimacy from the Land Use Charge Law No. 11, of 2001. It was designed to help the government generate additional revenue needed to develop the state in the light of increasing demand for provision of urban and rural infrastructure and other expenditure.

LAND

However, the implementation and enforcement of the land use charge have continued to raise dust. The modus operandi of the law has generated controversies over the years and some residents of Lagos are still confused as to what the land use charge is really about. The LUC law does not apply to all properties in the State. Properties that are exempted from the operation of the law are government-owned properties, and other properties used for public, religious and charitable activities. However, this exemption will only be granted where an application for exemption is made to the State Commissioner for Finance.

Liability
The charge is imposed on the owner of a property. However, where the owner is not in possession of the property, the LUC law authorises the collecting authority to appoint the occupier, who is usually the tenant, to be assessed with and pay for the tax; the tenant is in turn authorised by the law to offset such a payment from monies that may be due from the tenant to the owner of the property. There is thus an indemnity in favour of the tenant/occupier against the owner. Where a property owner did not receive the First Demand Notice, the Lagos state government advises that complaints be registered through any of their customer service channels.

You can visit landusecharge.com for clarification or you go over to their office at Ministry of Finance at Alausa. However note that all claims of non receipt of First Demand Notice will be checked against their proof of delivery of all bills. The cost of assessment is free to property owners; they are not expected to pay for assessment of property. The amount charged is not negotiable. However, if payment is made within 15days of the delivery of the demand notice, a discount of 15 percent is applicable.

In cases where property owners receive Land Use Charge Bill for the first time, yet they are being asked to pay arrear, demand notices issued with arrears are reviewed against proof of delivery of the Land Use Charge demand notices on such properties for the previous year(s) for necessary correction. Such cases should be registered through the complaints interface of the website; landusecharge.com, or through their help lines or e-mail, all available on their website.

In a situation whereby the property owner received the Tenement rate demand notice and has made payment before receiving the Land Use charge demand notice for the first time, the amount paid should be deducted from the Land Use Charge (if the Land Use Charge is higher than the Tenement rate,) then pay the outstanding balance. All evidence of payment including payment of Tenement rate should be forwarded to their office. However, where Land Use Charge demand notice is received before any of the consolidated charges i.e. tenement rate, ground rent and neighborhood improvement charges, Land use charge should be paid as it covers all these rates and charges.

Assessment
It is possible for same type of properties in the same area and occupying the same size of land to be charged different rates. For the purpose of Land Use Charge, properties are assessed individually. For any two similar properties, the physical appearance, aesthetic features and age will determine the property class rate (i.e. high, medium, and low) to be adopted in the valuation of the property. Another reason for charging different rates on any similar properties is the usage and status of occupation. It is noteworthy that property assessment is classified under 3 broad categories i.e.

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Commercial, Industrial and Residential usages. Commercial properties generally attract a rate of 0.394 percent of the assessed value. Industrial properties are assessed at a rate of 0.132 percent of the assessed value; however, this will only be applicable where the property owner is the occupier of the property.

Assessments of residential properties are categorized under three scenarios which attract different rates. A property solely occupied by the owner for residential purpose will be charged at a rate of 0.0394 percent, while a similar property occupied by the property owner and tenant(s) or third parties will be charged at a rate of 0.132 percent. The third scenario/category is an investment property fully occupied by tenants or third party/parties for revenue generation, charged at a rate of 0.394 percent.

The Land Use Charge does not provide for installment payments particularly since 15 percent discount is granted for early payment. However, any amounts left unpaid are carried over to the next year with its full interest compliment.

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