‘We have always met expectations of 1004 residents’
Moved by the claim of ownership, allegation of no transparency, accountability and fairness by 1004 estate residents’ association, the managers have exonerated the company from such allegations, arguing that all their demands lack any legal backing as any valid claim of ownership of the property must be based on legal title documents not just on publications.
FOLLOWING claims of high service charge and mismanagement by a group known as 1004 Home Owners and Residents Association in Victoria Island, Lagos, 1004 Estate Limited has debunked the allegation, saying that the firm has shrewdly manage the funds and ensure that the estate continues to function inspite of all deliberate hindrances, false accusations and black mail.
The estate is the largest high-rise luxury estate in Nigeria consisting of maisonettes and flats and studio apartments and has become the destination of choice for discerning corporate companies and individuals.
In fact, 1004 estate has indeed proven to be a roaring success story for all our property investors as the capital values have risen by over 150 per cent on the two bedroom, three bedroom and four bedroom flats, which initially cost N20 million, N25million, and N30million and now sells for a minimum of N50million, N 60million and N65 million each.
The annual rents have continued to steadily rise by 100 per cent from an average N1.5 million per annum initially to between N3 million and over N4million per annum per annum. The rental and purchase demand for the estate flats have continued to remain remarkably high in the property market.
On the association’ grouse that there were no transparency, accountability and fairness in the treatment of residents and flat owners, the managing director, 1004 Estate Limited, estate owners and managers, Mr. Samuel Ukpong said, “We take our time every year to send a 45 – page report on the activities of the previous year, the challenges and the expense incurred and the payments received for the service and the new service charges for the new period.
This has been done yearly. “They cannot say we don’t give accounts. We always do but they may be unwilling to accept the accounts, which is judgmental. For instance, all accounts are private to the flat and if one flat owes, the other flat is not supposed to pay on its behalf and each account can only be rendered to each flat owner.
After we reviewed their demands for unilaterally appointing an auditor to audit the company without the legal right and when that did not work, we then decided that an auditor of similar pedigree should be invited to review the service charge accounts. “Ernst and Young, which also audits our largest banks, was called in for our own external audit and they have just sent in their reports and we are able to now send an individualised cost and billing to each flat for settlement. .”
On the allegation of high service charge, he said: “1004 estates has the lowest service charge in the whole of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Oniru and Lekki.
Our rate of N658, 000 per annum (about N52, 000 monthly) is the reason for the high occupancy levels on the estate.” According to him, “the whole issue is of eight people who claim to always speak for all residents and non resident sub lessees and now decree diminishing service charges from the initial take off N450, 000 when the estate was partially occupied in 2011 down to N350, 000 in 2012, further down to N250, 000 in 2013 and incredibly down to N180, 000 in 2014 and further more that in 2014 that every one must pay only N15, 000 monthly, which objective clearly being to financially cripple the company.
It is so clear what they negatively hope to achieve by trying to decree that service charges should be reduced to N15, 000 monthly, which all the subleases and residents have since rejected as not making any sense for a flat in Victoria Island and therefore paying the actual service charged fixed by the company for 2014.
Ukpong who also spoke on the alleged claims of termination of the 93 year management agreement by the group, said: “1004 Estates Limited acquired the land and buildings in the estate for 99 years and subsequently renovated the flats and then offered subleases of 93 years to individual flats to interested investors.
All the lands in the estate and common areas still reside in 1004 estates Limited by virtue of its reversionary interest and are for the use and enjoyment of all the residents as stated in the sublease and management agreement for each flat. “The management agreement which is also for 93 years initially gives exclusive management rights on the estate to 1004 estates Limited for the holistic operations of the services and estate.
The same sublease agreement has also incorporated an official rules and regulations for a “1004 housing estate home owners association” 1004 HEHOA.”
He further explained, “There is a need to create a legal distinction between 1004 estate the location and 1004 estates Limited, the company. The company owns the land and is distinct with its own shareholders who are the only ones that can run the company.
The company is not open to the residents to run. “ If any one wants to confuse any valid claim of ownership of our property, it must be based on legal title documents not just on publications. There is no legal basis for this claim for which a title document in their favour must be produced evidencing from whom they derived title.”