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Problems with strata titles the main complaint

The Star 15/01/2002 By Clarence Chua

KUALA LUMPUR: Problems with strata titles have replaced shoddy workmanship as the new menace for housebuyers, according to statistics compiled annually by the House Buyers Association (HBA).

In its tabulation of complaints received last year, strata titles was the main grievance against developers, comprising 26% of the 1,260 grouses from buyers.

HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said late delivery and liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) claims came in second with 18% of the grouses followed by late issuance of certificates of fitness (CF) at 16%.

Other dissatisfaction were non-adherence to building plans (13%), management and maintenance (11%), shoddy workmanship and defects (7%), abandoned projects (6%) and infrastructure defects (3%).

"Strata titles are the final proof of ownership for the buyers. Developers can make a lot of money if the application is delayed.

"If no strata titles are issued, developers are entitled to set up their own management
offices and collect maintenance fees to administer the condominiums they built.

"If the developer has 10 other projects, the same management team would be shared among them. The residents cannot appoint their own management committee unless they have obtained the strata title," he said in an interview.

Chang said the local authorities upon issuing the CFs should forward copies to the Land and Co-operative Development Ministry, which would then, in accordance with the Strata Title Act, had a duty to exert pressure on developers to apply for the strata title within six months.

He said that more complaints had surfaced over the past year, as more housebuyers were aware of their rights.

In 2000, complaints were mostly about poor workmanship, which made up 22% of the total grouses from buyers in 46 schemes, while another 18% were about late delivery.

Chang said many buyers were also frustrated with developers who refused to compensate them for late delivery and LADs.


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