|54pc rise in complaints against
30/01/1999 NST By Anis Kamil
Kuala Lumpur, Fri - There was a 554 per cent increase in
the number of complaints against housing developers in 1998 compared with the
previous year, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Ting Chew Peh
A total of 1,135 complaints were recorded in 1998 as opposed
to 737 in 1997, an increase of 398. Previously, he said the average number of
complaints was 500 per year.
"I was quite surprised and asked for an explanation," Ting
"I was told one reason is that from the aspect of enforcement,
more inspections were carried out and the department was more open, making it
easier for people to lodge their complaints."
Other reasons cited: homebuyers' increased awareness of their
rights and the economic crisis which might have resulted in delays in completion
Ting was speaking to reporters after opening the sixth International
Real Estate Exhibition & Convention 1999 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
The most frequent complaint was shoddy workmanship or defective
houses amounting to 192 complaints. Ting said the developers and contractors
were usually the ones responsible.
The second most common reason (151) was for late payment
for damages or compensation for delayed handover of the unit. Third, with a
total of 114, were disputes over the cost of maintenance fees between the developer
and the unit owner.
"When we receive the complaints we try to solve or work the
problem out. I am happy to say we had an 85 per cent success rate in solving
Buyers whose problems could not be solved were advised to
refer their cases to the courts as the agreement between the developers and
buyers constituted a contract between the parties.
Under existing law, while the ministry maintained a list
of irresponsible developers, it was unable to legally blacklist these companies.
"Administratively, however, the ministry can prevent errant
developers from starting a new project by not issuing a license for the project,"
However, Ting was quick to point out that the high number
of complaints did not mean Selangor had the most irresponsible developers; it
had the most housing projects compared to other States.