Law

Rising assessment rates and your rights

Zero engagement, public relations exercise non-existent THE simple, routine exercise of a property revaluation in the city of Kuala Lumpur has somehow turned controversial due to the lack of apparent justification, given the magnitude of the increase and scarcity of explanation. Perhaps, the people in Government think there is no need for some form of elementary public relations and that having power is enough. There was practically no public engagement, consultation or attempt to seek feedback from stakeholders. If such a simple task as revaluing the properties in Kuala Lumpur cannot be carried out diligently and in a responsible manner, I am concerned with the impending introduction of the more complex goods and services tax (GST). Will the levy and collection of the GST be properly hand...Read More

Rectifying a leak in strata living

IF you live in a high-rise building and have an inter-floor water leakage issue, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Inter-floor leakages are, without a doubt, one of the biggest problems faced by many dwellers of high-rise buildings. Building technology has progressed over the years and we can build high-rise buildings that can withstand earthquakes with seismic engineering, be fire-resistant with comprehensive fire prevention measures and green buildings with energy and water-efficient measures. Sadly, however, we do not have any provisions in building codes to look into an issue that bothers many building owners and occupants – a water leakage. Following my article that was published in the StarBizWeek Buyers Beware column on Aug 22, the National House Buyers Association (HBA) ...Read More

Questioning DBKL’s move on KLites

Justifying the proposed assessment rate hike THE media has reported that two former mayors – Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail and Tan Sri Elyas Omar – have questioned the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on its proposed assessment rate hike. Ahmad Fuad, predecessor to the current mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, pointed out that he had raised reserves amounting to RM3bil prior to retiring last year. This means Ahmad Phesal inherited RM3bil when he took over. Ahmad Fuad reportedly said that DBKL must provide a detailed budget for 2014, with a breakdown of how much money was needed and how it would be spent. Elyas, meanwhile, noted that DBKL had “bigger revenue compared to what it had 30 years ago”, adding that there was no need to increase rates “even by 10%”. DBKL must be selective and make a di...Read More

Purchasers’ risk in progressive payment

THE National House Buyers Association (HBA) has complained to the Minister and those under his charge about purchasers becoming victims when they lose their homes as a result of foreclosure proceedings taken against them by banks to recover loans taken by developers secured by purchasers’ houses bought from the same developers, because the said developers did not settle the loans taken by them. The crux of the problem is that the Housing Ministry-prescribed sale and purchase agreement (SPA) allows the developer to build the purchaser’s house with the instalments of the purchase price paid by the purchaser from the day the SPA is signed. On top of this, and even more seriously, the developer is allowed to borrow from the developer’s banks on the security of the purchaser’s property. The pur...Read More

Pre-requisite condition for licensing of a housing developer

It is noteworthy that the Housing and Local Government is providing further protection to house buyers against the antics of irresponsible developers. The recent amendments to the Housing Development Act comes to mind. One of the most pertinent clause that was amended is Section 6(1)(b) of the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, 1966. The matter refers to the amendment to the requisite deposit, which is refundable, from the current RM200,000 to 3% of the construction cost. Small developers who build small number of houses in the smaller towns and where total construction cost is RM2mil or less, the RM200,000 that they are currently forking out actually represents over 10%. Therefore, for them the new 3% is actually a vast reduction! To a big project developer whose construct...Read More

Malaysia’s errant developers still not afraid

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — No amount of new laws against offences committed by property developers will be effective without strict enforcement, said the House Buyers Association (HBA) today. This comes as the Housing and Local Government Ministry moved to propose amendments to the Housing Development Act 1966 to impose stiffer penalties against developers of abandoned housing projects. HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said tougher enforcement of laws was needed to deal with errant developers without which the new laws would remain “ornamental pieces”. “Wayward developers well know that their chances of getting away with their wayward deeds are extremely good,” he said in a statement. He called on the authorities to act against developers “without fear or favour”. He also said that while ...Read More

Malaysian housing developers ignoring freebie guidelines

SOME seven months after more cooling measures were introduced, home prices continue to inch up as developers prefer to offer rebates than price their products lower. Many appear to be not abiding by guidelines on “freebies”. Some banks are also still basing their financing on the sales-and-purchase agreement (SPA) price rather than net selling price, a survey by the national House Buyers Association (HBA) has found. On a more positive note, except for one small developer, the projects surveyed by HBA volunteers did not offer the easy financing developer interest bearing scheme (Dibs), which the government had banned from this year. Brochures and other materials gathered by volunteers at various property fairs, however, indicate that many developers – even the bigger ones ...Read More

Full-disclosure by developers

THE National House Buyers Association seems to have finally succeeded in persuading the Government to make developers provide purchasers with a full set of detailed approved documents of the property. In fact, this has all along been a legal requirement. As far as landed properties are concerned, the approved layout plan and the approved building plan are to be included in the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) as the first schedule and second schedule respectively. With respect to the strata titles, there are the site plan, layout plan, floor plan of the parcel, storey plan of the building, accessory plan and common facilities plan, all approved, which comprised the first and second schedules. The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry has now agreed with HBA that the detai...Read More

Pre-requisite condition for licensing of a housing developer

It is noteworthy that the Housing and Local Government is providing further protection to house buyers against the antics of irresponsible developers. The recent amendments to the Housing Development Act comes to mind. One of the most pertinent clause that was amended is Section 6(1)(b) of the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, 1966. The matter refers to the amendment to the requisite deposit, which is refundable, from the current RM200,000 to 3% of the construction cost. Small developers who build small number of houses in the smaller towns and where total construction cost is RM2mil or less, the RM200,000 that they are currently forking out actually represents over 10%. Therefore, for them the new 3% is actually a vast reduction! To a big project developer whose construct...Read More

Plight of kampung land owners

Where’s the prosecution against the 205 unlicensed housing developers? BUYERS BEWARE BY CHANG KIM LOONG ABOUT two years ago, an English daily highlighted the plight of land owners who had entered into joint ventures with unlicensed developers to build houses on their (home owners’) land. Most of these deals involved land in the kampung (or villages). When these partnerships turned soured and were subsequently highlighted in the press, the Housing Ministry warned it was going to catch these businessmen, most of whom were small-time developers out to make a quick buck. However, until today, no action seems to have been taken on these errant developers while the victims continue in their miseries and financial nightmares due to abandoned projects and botched joint ventures. The Housing Minist...Read More

Not all apartments are the same

CALL them what you like – small office home office (Soho), small office flexi office, small office versatile office, condotel, hotel suite or butler serviced apartment. The names are coined by housing developers with creative plans to woo investors with enticing marketing tools on yet-to- be-built stratified properties. Where people used to buy an apartment unit/parcel for a roof over their heads, of late, so many other styles have crept up to boggle the minds of investors and buyers. However, for the uninitiated – not all apartments are created equal. Although the sales and marketing brochures may look alike, the small prints will tell you the difference, if you care to take a magnifying glass to inspect. Then again, for the first-timers, they are unlikely to spot the difference. This art...Read More

Making it legal

  Addressing the issue of unsanctioned extensions to the kitchen, porch and upper rear floor SCENARIO A: I bought my terrace house some 20 years ago and I didn’t know that I have to obtain building plans for my extended kitchen. Scenario B: Waste of time to legalise the balcony that was created on-top of the car porch. After all, I am selling my house to migrate. Scenario C: All my neighbours have the same illegal extension to their kitchen without the five feet setback. We just copied them. What should I do then? Scenario D: We have obtained the approved building plans from the local council but didn’t procure the Certificate of Compliance and Completion (CCC) from our architects. We are not sure whether the contractors built according to the plans. But, our architects have not issue...Read More