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Developer ordered to pay housebuyers RM4.5m

Queville To

 

 | January 29, 2011

An unprecedented ruling by the Kota Kinabalu High Court in favour of housebuyers serves as a warning to all developers.

KOTA KINABALU: In a landmark decision yesterday, the Kota Kinabalu High Court ordered the developer of Taman Bukit Saujana Iramanis to pay 46 housebuyers over RM4.5 million in compensation.

Judge David Wong Dak Wah made the ruling against Yusen Jaya Sdn Bhd after a four-day hearing.

Each housebuyer would receive almost RM100,000 in compensation.

The 46 housebuyers had filed the suit jointly in 2006 against the developer after finding the houses they bought were defective and the developer had failed to remedy the defects.

They also wanted compensation for the late delivery of their houses.

They argued that, among others, the defendant is liable for the delay in delivering their houses and that the terms and conditions in the sale and purchase agreement contravened the housing Licensing Developer Rules 1980.

In his closing remarks, Wong said that housing developers must realise that the majority of purchasers were first time housebuyers.

He said most of the housebuyers used their life saving to realise their dreams of owing their home.

In doing so, he said, they entered into a lifelong commitment of repaying the housing loan.

“These purchasers buy their houses relying on the representation of the developers that the houses will be built with good workmanship and materials and the last thing they expect is to take possession of houses which are defective and requiring massive remedial works.

“In this case, legal action had to be taken which made the situation worse for the plaintiffs. As in other industries, the building industry must embrace its social responsibility of ensuring that it is respected by the society at large.

“This can be only by not being driven with mindset of ‘profit at any costs’,” he said.

Mental anguish

A spokesman for the housebuyers Dr Kumar told reporters that they are “very happy with the decision today” as they had suffered mental anguish after having bought defective houses and spending extra to remedy the defects.

“We are grateful to our lawyer Christina Liew and her team of lawyers Alex Decena and Wilson Lai, our chief consultant Ho Jia Lit and his team of professional expert witnesses.

“We hope the decision will serve as a reminder to the developers to observe the building laws in the construction industry. You owe a duty of care to the house buyers,” he said.

Ho, who is also the chairman of the Architects Association Malaysia (PAM) Sabah chapter, said the court ruling was unprecedented.

“As far as I know, never before has a developer been sued jointly by a large group of housebuyers with expert witnesses to testify in court.

“From now on, the developers have to keep to what they represent to the housebuyers in their sales or marketing of their houses.

“Even after the warranty period expires, if there are defects, the housebuyers have the right to seek remedial action from the developers,” he said.

Ho was engaged by the housebuyers to investigate the technical defects of the affected houses.

The total amount – RM4,592,372.67 – the company has to pay to the 46 buyers comes with 8% per annum interest from the date of judgment to the full settlement of the sum.

 

Developer ordered to pay housebuyers RM4.5m

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