law

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

Look at the fine print in guaranteed rental returns

CALL them what you like leasebacks, buy-to-let, cash back, own-for-free developers have come up with creative plans to woo investors with guaranteed rental returns (GRRs) on yet-to-be-built properties. Developers would agree to pay buyers rentals ranging from 8% to 12% per annum or a proportion of the purchase price for a certain length of time. This kind of purchase, which has become increasingly common judging from the press advertisements, sounds enticing to investors who do not want the trouble of managing their own investments. You buy the property, and you get the rental returns thrown in. While GRRs could be very attractive, investors need to know that the scheme is not as simple as it seems, much like ads that appeal to our desire to lose weight quickly, get rich fast or strike the...Read More

Leakage – A strata living nightmare

IF you live in a high rise building and have an inter-floor leakage issue, you can be rest assured that you are not alone. Inter-floor leakage is without a doubt one of the biggest problems faced by many dwellers of high rise buildings. Whilst the leakage may appear only in a particular parcel, the source of the leakage may lie in the parcel above or even elsewhere. The cooperation of more than one party is therefore required; without which one cannot even begin to identify the problem, let alone solve it. Two issues must be identified when there is an inter-floor leakage. Firstly, the source of the leakage and secondly, the person or body responsible for repair or rectification. Who is supposed to identify the source of the leakage to start with? The person or body responsible of course, ...Read More

Is the Housing Tribunal effective?

  Scenario A: You want to file your claim at the Housing Tribunal? Aiyah, better not lah, waste of time only. My friend filed his claim two years ago. Until now, still cannot get his money. You better go to court. Scenario B: But very expensive if go to court. The lawyer says my case must go to the magistrates’ court, and you know how much he wants to charge? RM5,000! On top of that, he says RM5,000 does not include filing fees and travelling. Worse still, he says he cannot guarantee I will get my money. Where I got money to pay the lawyer, the developer delayed my house for so long. I told the lawyer he can deduct from the money the developer has to pay me, but he says cannot. If the developer doesn’t pay I still have to pay his legal fees and expenses, he says. Where got justice? &n...Read More

HGS akin to guaranteeing developers’ profit

THE first question the Government needs to face is why does abandonment of housing projects take place? The root cause is the lack of and lax in enfocement of existing laws. The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is deeply concerned that the Government proposes to set up a Housing Guarantee Corporation (HGS) purportedly to protect buyers and housing developers in the event of abandonment of housing projects by developers. What is more worrying is that the loss caused by abandonment is to be incurred by the Government. The Government will hold 70% equity in the HGS while the balance is held by private funds i.e. Rehda and government-linked agencies such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Tabung Haji. Lax and lack of enforcement The public who rely on legislations are often let d...Read More

HBA’s lawsuit obtains greenlight

Lawyers of the National House Buyers Association (HBA) have been granted the ‘leave of court’ to pursue the legal action against the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KPKT) and Controller of Housing (CH). The lawyers, who have volunteered to represent buyers who have been denied rights to claim for the delay of a project in Kuala Lumpur, obtained the permission from the Appellate & Special Powers Division of the High Court to pursue Judicial Review proceedings against the decision of KPKT and CH on Palace Court, developed by BHL Construction Sdn Bhd. According to HBA’s secretary-general Chang Kim Loong, the class action was commenced by 71 aggrieved buyers against the granting of the Extension of Time (EOT) by the CH, which has denied unit owners the rights for...Read More

Damages for late delivery

Addressing and defining vacant possession. “MY new house is ready and I can now collect my keys,” or so the house-buyer thinks. No more having to pay rent. But his dreams come crashing down, however, when he is informed that although he may have gained vacant possession, he cannot not move into his house because the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) is not ready. Months later, he receives a copy of the CFO, and when he asks to be compensated for the delay, the developer says liquidated damages for late delivery (liquidated ascertained damages or LAD) is calculated up to the date of their notice for delivery of vacant possession and not up to the date of the CFO. Who then is to compensate the house-buyer who has to service a housing loan for a house he or she is not allowed to occ...Read More

Compliance with the law–Do it the right way from the onset

Office bearers and committee/ council members elected to serve the management bodies should indulge themselves; to educate and equip themselves with the intricacies of the legislation governing strata management vis-à-vis Strata Management Act, its Regulations and the usage of the related Forms as well as understand the scope of jurisdiction of the Strata Management Tribunal and the role and power of the Commissioner Of Buildings. Dealing with the maintenance charges and sinking fund is one of the most important and yet contentious functions of developer, Joint Management Body or Management Corporation (collectively ‘Management Bodies’) in a stratified development. In order to ensure that accountability and integrity are constantly upheld in the Management Bodies, the Strata Management Act...Read More

Addressing abandonment issues

ALTHOUGH the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, 1966 (HDA) has been tweaked and fined-tuned on numerous occasions in the past, it has still not been able to address the issues of abandonment. The amendments to Housing Development (Control & Licensing) were tabled in Parliament and debated, received its royal assent and was gazetted on Feb 2, 2012. Its implementation was inordinately delayed because of the governing HD Regulations, 2015 (HDR) and a host of other crossed referred laws that related to strata management and maintenance. It finally was implemented by the Housing Minister and came into operation on June 1, 2015. But has the amendments to the principal legislation and its governing regulations with a new set of sales & purchase agreements plugged some of t...Read More