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PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to be proactive in protecting house buyers against errant developers.
Lawyer Derek Fernandez, in welcoming a Federal Court ruling that the housing controller has no power to give property developers extensions of time to finish their projects, said it was unfortunate that buyers had to go to court to seek justice on such an obvious matter.
Speaking to FMT, he said it was an obvious wrong for the housing controller to give time extensions to developers when the buyers were the ones who had to pay interest on their bank loans.
Under the government-regulated sale and purchase agreement, housing projects on landed properties must be completed within 24 months and high-rise structures within 36 months.
If developers fail to complete their projects on time, they will have to pay late delivery charges to the buyers unless they obtain extensions of time to exempt them from this obligation.
Fernandez said there had been many cases in which affected buyers were not consulted before such extensions were given.
He said Pakatan Harapan should be shy of referring to itself as a coalition helming a reformist government if it would not look into protecting the public against the unfair practices of big businesses.
By right, he added, the government should order banks to suspend the charging of interest on loans taken by affected house buyers when extensions of time are given to developers.
Melaka-based developer Anthony Adam Cho also commented on the Federal Court ruling, saying it was not clear whether it would affect developers who obtained their time extensions before launching their projects.
He also said the Housing Developers Act, in specifying the completion period of 24 or 36 months, did not take into consideration the complexity of certain projects.
“Perhaps the act should be reviewed to take into account the requirements of longer construction periods,” he said.
“A longer period should be allowed, say five years, subject to the spelling out of developers’ commitment to buyers based on the willing-buyer and willing-seller principle.”