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Bill of Rights to protect house buyers

04/01/2009 The Star

AS highlighted by the National House Buyers Association (HBA) recently, abandoned housing projects have always been a big problem in Malaysia,.

Its honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said house buyers are never warned about the inadequate protection when buying a yet-to-be built home.

“Most find out the hard way when things go wrong. Aggrieved house buyers are then forced to go from one department to another, resort to the media, plead to the Prime Minister, seek intervention from the Minister of Housing and Local Government or go to court for justice,” he said.

He noted that the major problem is the country’s system of delivery in the property market – the progress payment system – which allows developers to demand payment before work progresses.

The rights of house buyers are also vague, he said.

This has prompted the association to draw up a Bill of Rights to ensure house buyers demand for:

>Safe and sound construction;

>Assurance that the project will not be abandoned and that they will receive individual titles to their properties;

>Assurance that the new homes and/or any home improvements will comply with all prevailing local, state and federal building regulations and statutes;

>Assurance that only quality, performance-proven building products are used in housing construction, and that products are installed in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications and warranties;

>Assurance that the roof will not leak, the structure is sound and that all mechanical systems and structural components will perform properly;

>Access to all information regarding the purchase contracts and the site contour maps, layout plans and building approvals of their developments;

>Knowledge of dealings and any relationship the estate agents or developers involved may have with the agencies concerned, like architects, engineers, lawyers, surveyors, financiers, subcontractors, insurance companies, manufacturers, realtors, home warranty companies and soil test engineers;

>Access to the track record and complaints (if any) of developers, builders, subcontractors, lenders, manufacturers and any other entity associated with the building or buying process;

>Peace of mind concerning the safety of their family;

>Protection of the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act and the assurance of close monitoring, policing and enforcement by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government; and

>Knowledge that their developers, contractors and appointed agents will honour their contractual obligations and moral responsibilities.

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