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Help for housebuyers

25/04/2002 Published in NST-PROP A Buyer Watch Article by National House Buyers Association

The House Buyers Association, a non-governmental and non-profit organisation of volunteers, will have a booth at Mapex 2002 to help purchasers through the maze of house buying. Its secretary-general Chang Kim Loong explains the association's aims

Many prospective house buyers usually have little knowledge of what aspects to look for when they ready to acquire a home.

The construction of a project involves numerous parties and legislation, and when problems arise, help in any form if often time consuming and costly.

Thus the onus is on a prospective house buyer to be well educated on their rights and to seek help from all sources available before hey make their first payment.

The House Buyers Association (HBA) is a non-governmental organization that is neither commercially nor politically oriented.

It comprises of volunteers in all profession. What is strives for is free, fair and equitable treatment for house buyers in their deals with housing developers.

The pro-tem committee of the association was formed on Oct 16, 1999 and the association was formally registered on July 26, 2000. 

With a slogan "Striving for Buyers Rights & Interest" the HBA presents the house buyers  an avenue to seek guidance for solutions to their problems.

The logo of the association is in the shape of a radar, a representation of its keeping a watchful eye on the building industry and laws governing it. 

Checking out the Developer

Many house buyers are confused as to whether the amendments to the Housing Developers (Control & Licensing) Act 1966 now named Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, 1966 applies to their situations.

Although the Housing Act has been gazetted on the 31st January, 2002 the date of implementation has yet to be announced. Until such announcement, the old Act still applies.

We have also come across many house buyers who are not sure of whether their property comes under the purview of the Housing Act. It is a good idea to be clear about which situation applies to you. The following table describes the different types of homes and whether you can expect the developer to be licensed or not.( see table 1)

Table 1

Type of Housing Accommodation Developer Information
Any building, tenement or messuage which is wholly or principally constructed, adapted or intended for human habitation or partly for human habitation and partly for business premises. Licence required
Less than four  Not required to be licensed 
 Built by:

(a) any society registered or incorporated under any written law relating to co-operative societies; and

(b) any body or agency established and incorporated by statute and under the control of the Federal Government or the Government of any State.

Under the Principle Act: Not required to be licensed

Under the *Amended Act: Required to be licensed 

Sold after full certificate of fitness has been issued  Not required to be licensed 
Erected on land designated for or approved for commercial development  Under the *Amended Act: Not required to be licensed.
The Minister may by notification published in the Gazette exempt any housing developer from any or all of the provisions of this Act.  Not required to be licensed.Check the Gazette for this information.
* Note: The Amended Act has not been implemented yet. You can browse for a copy of the amendments and the principle Act from our website at www.hba.org.my 
Type of Property  Developer Information
  • Service Apartments;
  • Commercial Buildings;
  • Shop lots;
  • Shop offices; 
  • Bungalow plots/land;
  • Orchard land/agricultural land;
  •  Industrial/factory lots;
  • Other types of property not specified as "Housing Accommodation" under the Housing Act.
 Not required to be licensed

Whether the developer from whom you are considering buying a home is licensed or not, it is a good idea to take steps to evaluate their credentials.

The following are some suggestions:

Ask the Developer about their experience, training and affiliation with trade associations. 

Evidence of ongoing training and memberships in trade associations, such as Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda), can indicate a commitment to professionalism.

Inquire whether the Developer has an after-sales service program and request detailed information. 

Questioning several developers about their projects can give you some standards for comparison on issues such as the quality of materials or the management/maintenance service of your homes. 

Talk to owners of other homes built by the developer to assess construction quality and the frequency and timeliness of any repairs required after sales. 

Request a list of homes or projects completed by the developer within the last few years. It is a good idea to go and see at least some of these homes.

When purchasing a strata-title property eg. condominium, apartments, there are several additional precautions to take. 

For this type of property, you own not only your unit or strata lot, but also a share of the common property. 

Common property usually includes pipes, wires, and other services contained within a floor, wall or ceiling of a building shown on the strata plan. 

Common property may also include such facilities as parking, recreational facilities and common storage areas, as well as the roof and the exterior walls.

Before you sign the sales contract, have your lawyer review all the documents including "deed of covenants", bylaws, rules and regulations etc. 

It is recommended that purchasers of strata-title properties check out if the strata titles fees have been paid before the commencement of construction by the developer. 

Pay particular attention to any references to building repairs, defects and special funds (sinking fund). 

Know the payments that you will have to bear in order not to be caught unaware.

Also be aware of the legal requirements around the formation of a management corporation of a strata-title building. 

Remember that the quality of the strata-title property you buy and thus the continuing value of your unit, will be significantly influenced by how well the management corporation performs its duties. 

If you intend to purchase one, be prepared to take an active interest in the affairs of the management corporation and ensure that the management council is being properly accountable to the strata unit owners.

House Buyers Guide Book

The HBA has come up with a guide book to assist first time house buyers. 

Named the House Buyers Guide, it is specially tailored for first-time buyers and also for seasoned purchasers.  This handy book provides guidance on what to check for, what to ask, and where to check. It is sold at a subsidized price of RM5.00 each. 

 

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Tel: 03-21422225 | 012-3345 676 Fax: 03-22601803 Email: info@hba.org.my

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