Protecting the rights of housebuyers

condo-klangvalley-courtBy Sin Chew Daily

Two years ago, then urban well-being, housing and local government minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan approved the application by a housing developer to extend the delivery deadline for several of its condominium projects in the Klang Valley and Johor.

As a result, housebuyers were unable to claim compensation for late delivery. The housebuyers subsequently brought the case to court to challenge the minister’s decision.

On Monday, the High Court delivered good news to the housebuyers by issuing a verdict favourable to them, by ruling that Rahman’s decision to extend the delivery deadline was invalid.

At the same time, the court also ruled that the urban well-being, housing and local government minister had no right to extend property delivery deadlines.

The benchmark verdict allows the affected housebuyers to claim their due compensation from the developer. This means their interests are now fully protected by the law, and will not be affected by the intervention of the minister.

To many property buyers, buying a house is probably one of their biggest transactions in life, and their rights in such transactions must therefore be adequately protected.

Now that the sales and purchase agreement (SPA) has clearly stated the compensation for late delivery, it is imperative that the developer comply with it instead of seeking the help of the minister to extend the delivery deadline in a bid to avert its obligation of compensating the buyers.

Most developers comply with SPA rules and regulations, though, and would duly compensate the buyers if they are unable to deliver on time.

Late delivery could affect housebuyers in a number of ways, causing them to bear unnecessary financial losses. For instance, they may have to continue living on rented premises instead of their own new houses.

The minister’s approval for the developer to extend the delivery deadline has denied the housebuyers of their compensations, which is both unfair and unreasonable. The housebuyers have every reason to raise this matter in court to challenge the minister’s decision.

As a matter of fact, such a decision should not have been made in the first place. As a public servant serving the rakyat, the minister must prioritise the interests of the people at all times, instead of making decisions that may jeopardise their rights and interests.

Looking from another perspective, the High Court’s decision not only has provided further protection to housebuyers, but has also upheld fairness in property transactions in creating a more just business environment so that the rights of consumers are not undermined.

The court’s verdict does not erode the developer’s interests as it only aims to protect buyers who are the weaker and more easily exploited lot in the market.

In healthy market economics, the rights of both the selling and buying parties must be reasonably protected so that the market could thrive continually.

Sin Chew Daily is a local vernacular publication

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