Solution to home ownership woes
The Malay Mail 01/05/2001
The House Buyers Association (HBA) stands
as a beacon for purchasers who find their homes far from satisfactory. Their
primary objective is to create a level playing field between the developers
and the housebuyers, writes Devasahayam Selvan.
For many, investing in the 'right' house
might be quite a job. Lest you are left high and dry once you move into
your home, you must give enough room for all the right steps to be taken
thereafter. No one wants to spend the rest of their lives worrying in their
new homes because the developer, some times hand-in-glove with the contractor
and the architect two-timed you. Literally, suddenly, one day your house
may develop cracks on the wall, leaving you in ribbons. Or the colour on
the wall might slowly undergo a change indicating the bad shape of things
There are specifications and guidelines
to be followed, at every step of the way in construction' the specifications,
the right mix ration of construction materials and so on. Sometimes, enforcement
to ensure that everything is complied is less than effective. The net result
is you have a house that is home to all your worries. Perhaps, for a lifetime.
For a first time house buyer, it can be a proverbial state of confusion
because the possible defects that are lurking, in the corners do not show
up at first sight. And when it does, it maybe too late. You have already
been taken for a ride in your own home. You are also left with a sense of
Beware of such developers, warns the secretary-general
of the House Buyers Association (HBA), Chang Kim Loong, from the rooftops.
" Most of the complaints received by the 600-strong association centers
around shoddy workmanship," Chang informed us yesterday.
The association wants to make buying a
new home a more pleasurable affair and not let the prospective house buyers
pay for the developer's mistake. The association recently went online -
www.hba.org.my - in order to educate the house buyers about their rights,
protect them from falling into the pitfalls of house buying and to create
a ground to fight for the overall rights of the house buying community.
Another area of action, which the association
wants to focus on, is the delaying tactics of the developers. In addition
to the usual procrastination of the hand-over of the keys, there are also
a large number of apartment owners who wait from five to 10 years for their
Hence, Chang said the association would
advise house-buyers what to look out for prior to buying a property and
what precautionary measures are to be taken when faced with a particular
problem. The association said that those buying new homes are subjected
to high-pressure sales tactics-those where you can't place any confidence
in-be it the verbal assurances and the sales brochures that are worthless
in terms of creating any contractual obligation.
HBA would also carry out periodic e-surveys
to get feedback from house-buyers on current issues, the proposed amendments
to Housing Developers Act and other related issues. Already, proposals such
as changes in the sales and purchase agreement format and the setting up
of a housing tribunal are included in the proposed amendments.
HBA also called for setting up of a one-stop
centre for the obtaining of strata titles and to make the management of
maintenance fees more transparent.
HBA, a non-governmental organisation,
that strives to create a level playing field between the developers and
the housebuyers was launched last July. Though presently active in Kuala
Lumpur and Selangor, it hopes to spread its wings to other states such as
Penang, Johor, Perak and Negri Sembilan.
Until the HBA took shape in 1999, there
was no effective consumer representation or lobby to curb the overwhelming
number of complaints from house buyers who after signing the sales and purchase
agreement are left in the lurch with no follow up service.
HBA was initially intended to represent
the private sector new home market, but it does cover commercial and government
housing " in view of the numerous complaints that we have received from
HBA does not charge for its services but
would recommend the house buyers - with or without problems - to join it.
The membership fee is RM25 per year, plus RM5 entrance fee. "If you feel
generous, you are welcome to send in donations to help us help you for your
rights," says one of its tenets.