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Don't pay if there's no permit

The Star 09/01/2001

Housing developers who have yet to obtain building permission and advertising permits for their projects have been warned not to take "even a single sen'' from buyers.

Buyers should not be made to pay registration or booking fees to secure units when developers had yet to obtain permits from the relevant authorities, according to a Housing and Local Government Ministry official.

"If we find evidence of monetary transaction in such cases, we will slap the developer with a maximum compound of RM100,000 for making sales without licences,'' he said.

Under the Housing Developers (Control and Licencing) Regulations 1989, the developer must obtain the advertisement and sales permit first "before making any notification or intimation of the projects''.

"In view of the slowdown in the property market, we have relaxed the rule to enable the developer to gauge market response prior to launching. But they have to ask for our permission first and they are not allowed to impose any fee on the buyers,'' he added.

The official was asked to comment on several cases in Penang where developers had put up signboards to advertise their projects even before the local council approved their building plans.

On Saturday, The Star reported that a Singaporean developer had proposed to build two blocks of 25-storey super condominiums behind the historical Shih Chung Branch School building in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

A property agent had put up a signboard at the site stating that 83 units were for sale from RM280 psf onwards. Checks with the Penang Municipal Council however showed that the developer had submitted new plans incorporating two blocks of condominiums and a hotel building which had yet to be approved.

The original plan approved was for a massive hotel-cum-commercial block.

According to a spokesman from the company, the signboard on the "Raffles-by-the-Sea'' project would be replaced with a new signboard which only displayed the name of the project and the contact number for enquiry.

"We have not collected any money from the buyers,'' he added.


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