House-buyers want to stop sale of 99-year leases

Chang Kim Loong of the House-Buyers Association says 99-year leases and en-bloc sales would be unfair to buyers.

KUALA LUMPUR: The incoming federal government was urged today to stop two housing policy changes which would allow developers to sell 99-year leases for homes on freehold land, and for en-bloc sale of housing estates.

The National House Buyers Association’s secretary-general, Chang Kim Loong, told FMT that he had argued the case against the two policy changes at a meeting with the prime minister’s council of senior advisers.

Chang also urged the incoming government to remove the housing minister’s power to grant developers an extension of time for completing a housing project, to avoid any abuse of power.

Developers are required to deliver completed houses within 36 months of the sale-and-purchase agreement being concluded.

Chang said the plans for allowing lease-sales and en-bloc sales had been made by the Lands and Mines Department during the term of the previous government.

The sale of 99-year leases for houses on freehold land was not fair, he said. “If it is not stopped, our grandchildren will be affected.”

He said proponents of the scheme had said that such a policy had been adopted in Singapore and Hong Kong but there was limited land in those countries whereas in Malaysia much land remained undeveloped.

The private leasehold-sale scheme would allow a developer to develop houses on freehold land and sell them on a 99-year lease.

Chang said the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) also carried out 99-year lease housing schemes, but PKNS was morally obliged to extend the lease for a nominal fee.

En bloc sales would allow the “forced sale” of property, Chang said.

“Say a developer wants to redevelop a housing area, and 80% of the owners want to sell; if we allow en bloc sales, then the remaining 20% must sell even if they don’t want to. This is not fair to those who don’t want to sell,” he said.

Chang said the housing ministry in the previous administration had granted 304 extensions to housing projects between 2014 and 2017, at the expense of buyers who should have been compensated for the developer’s failure to deliver homes on time.

He said extensions should only be granted in extraordinary circumstances, such as natural disasters which were outside the control of developers.

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