Penang threatens to blacklist developers who force buyers to take up extras

Penang Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo asks victims to report to him developers who force buyers to pay more than the price set.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government today issued a warning that it would blacklist developers who forced those buying the state’s affordable housing units to pay more than the price set.

This follows the revelation yesterday by the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) that many first-time homebuyers are being forced to pay more than double for their low-medium cost units, which have a mandated price of RM72,500 for a 760 sq ft apartment.

At a press conference today, state Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said he was very upset over the report, urging any buyer facing such problems not to sign up for the extras that they did not want.

He asked them to immediately report the matter to his office so that he could take action against these errant developers.

He said such developers would be given a show-cause letter.

Jagdeep warned developers who think they could get away by charging extra, saying they would be banned from being involved in any more projects.

“We can also stop giving them a list of first-time homebuyers to take up their affordable homes units,” he said.

“If the buyers do not want to take up carpark or renovation packages, then you cannot force them. They should be allowed to buy the bare units at the ceiling prices set by the state government,” he said.

The bare units are those without any tiling or other fittings.

Yesterday, CAP revealed that more than 10 homebuyers had paid between RM100,000 and RM182,000 for their 760sq ft apartments in Tanjung Tokong here.

Cashing in on the demand for these affordable units, the developers took a “take it or leave it” attitude with potential buyers.

These desperate buyers were forced to pick extras such as tiling work or car park lots, which cost them an extra RM50,000. The developers insisted that these buyers take up these add-ons if they wanted to buy the units.

Currently, the capped prices of homes under the “affordable homes” category on the island are RM150,000 (for 750 sq ft), RM250,000 (for 800 sq ft) and RM300,000 (for 900 sq ft).

On mainland Seberang Perai, the prices are capped at RM150,000 (for 750 sq ft), RM200,000 (for 800 sq ft) and RM250,000 (900 sq ft).

As for the “low-cost and low-medium cost” categories in Penang, the prices of homes are set at RM42,000 (for 650 sq ft) and RM72,500 (for 700 sq ft).