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Court orders developer to pay damages for defective homes
The Star 19/1/2005

Ainun Mohd Ali and her family had to spend RM80,000 to fix defects in a house they had bought for RM103,000 in 1986. 

This was because the house they had bought in Taman Nirwana Phase 2, Ampang, was riddled with defects. 

Leaky sewerage pipes from the upstairs toilet leaked through the ceiling down to their dining area.  

FLAWED STRUCTURE: Saat Mohd Rashid showing the defects at his house in Taman Nirwana Phase 2 in Ampang yesterday.

When it rained, water seeped into the house from numerous leaks due to poor roofing. 

Yesterday, after a wait of 20 years, Ainun and others facing the same predicament finally succeeded in their case for compensation, when the Court of Appeal ordered the developer to pay damages for the defective houses.  

Ainun, who is also the residents committee's secretary, was teary-eyed after the decision was pronounced. 

“The case has dragged on so long that one of the committee members who initiated the suit in 1992 has already passed away,” she said. 

Court of Appeal judges Justices Gopal Sri Ram, Azmel Ma'amor and Mohd Noor Abdullah unanimously allowed the appeal of Raja Lob Sharuddin Raja Ahmad Terzali and 38 others against a High Court decision favouring Sri Seltra Sdn Bhd for not building the houses according to the plans and specifications. 

The judges also ordered that the High Court's decision to strike out six plaintiffs in the original suit be reversed.  

This would bring the total number of plaintiffs to 45. 

In his oral judgment, Justice Sri Ram said the judges were satisfied that the High Court judge had failed to undertake judicial appreciation of the evidence before him. 

“There are other serious errors in the judgment but we will address this in our written reasons in due course,” he said. 

He said that since the damages of each plaintiff would need to be assessed, he ordered the case to be heard for mention before the Kuala Lumpur High Court's Senior Assistant Registrar this morning. 

“This case has been going on for more than 10 years. We don't want them to wait for another 10 more,” he said. 

The group of residents filed a suit against Sri Seltra in 1992 claiming that their double-storey terrace houses bought six years earlier were riddled with defects. 

At the outset yesterday, Sri Seltra's counsel N. Selvam submitted that there were no defects and provided the original photographs of the exterior of the houses in question taken by his client. 

Saying that the houses were built according to specification, Selvam said the defects were caused by the negligence of the housebuyers, as they did not maintain their property.  


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