House buyers obtain leave against Controller of Housing

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KUALA LUMPUR: More and more housing developers are seeking extensions, under the pretext of “hardship and special circumstances”, said the National House Buyers Association (HBA) in a statement.

“This deprives house buyers of the agreed compensation for late delivery.”

Some of these alleged “hardships” are self-inflicted, charged the statement.

“They include ‘Stop Orders’ issued by the local council because of complaints from neighbouring owners for an obvious reason — ‘construction work beyond permitted hours’.”

The HBA disclosed that it had successfully obtained permission from the Appellate & Special Powers Division of the High Court.

It intends to pursue judicial review proceedings against the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing & Local Government and the Controller of Housing. The judicial review involves a condominium project undertaken by BHL Construction Sdn Bhd.

The class action was commenced by 71 aggrieved buyers over the granting of Extension of Time (EOT) by the Controller of Housing for the project.

Questions arise, said the HBA, whether the controller has discretionary powers, whether it has been misused against buyers and whether it has been exercised in a just manner.

Development under the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 1966 was regulated as per the Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA) under Schedule G and H, pointed out the NBA.

“Developers are required to hand over the keys to buyers within 24 months and 36 months respectively from the date of the SPA. “

These are the prescribed duration permitted under the SPA, reiterated the statement.

If the developer failed to do so, he or she would have to pay buyers liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) at 10% per annum of the purchase price, a form of compensation agreed by parties, buyers and developer, continued the HBA.

Instead, with a stroke of the pen, the Housing Controller extinguishes the rights to LAD by granting extensions, it lamented.

The Housing Controller must be mindful of the purpose of legislation, stressed the HBA.

“The objective of the laws passed by Parliament was to protect house buyers.”

The aggrieved buyers have now suffered from the adverse action of the Controller of Housing, summed up the HBA statement.