New law to protect property buyers

PUTRAJAYA: The rights of buyers of common properties like apartments and condominiums prior to issuance of strata titles will be protected with a proposed new law to appoint a housing commissioner at state level. 

Buyers have long complained that in the interim period between vacant possession and issuance of strata titles, some developers who were supposed to manage the properties failed to provide maintenance. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said a Building and Common Properties Bill would be tabled in Parliament next month to enable local authorities to appoint a building commissioner. 

“This commissioner is needed because when a project is completed and vacant possession is given, many problems crop up in relation to building maintenance. 

“The commissioner will make sure the building is properly maintained between vacant possession and issuance of strata titles,” he told reporters after chairing the National Council on Local Government here on Tuesday. 

Also present were Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and several Mentris Besar. 

Elaborating on the matter later, Ong said currently if buyers were not happy with the developer or the developer was not carrying out maintenance work, there was no specific law to help them out. 

The commissioner comes into the picture. The person must have something to do with the local council or can fit into the council area of administration so that he can enforce the common properties law. 

The council also endorsed the plan to replace the Certificates of Fitness for Occupancy (CFO) with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance(CCC) with the tabling of amendment to five acts and a bylaw in Parliament next month. 

The deputy prime minister said the council agreed the issuance of the CCC would be streamlined in all states, in line with the Government’s move to encourage self-regulation and self-certification of housing projects by professionals. 

“The CCC will take some 18 months to be enforced after being approved and consented by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong,” he added. 

He said the CFO would run parallel with the enforcement of the CCC until all current housing projects were completed. 

With the CCC, the architects and engineers of a project would look into the technical aspects of the development of housing projects.  

Currently, many government departments check the technical aspects of a development before deciding whether to certify it fit for occupancy. 

Ong said the local council would still have a role to play to ensure check and balance. 

“The local councils can from time to time, when the work is in progress, check whether the developer is complying and if they see any deviation from the technical specification, they can still intervene and tell the developer and professionals that things are not right. 

“The council can also stop them from issuing the CCC if any conditions is not met. 

“The Government has considered this carefully. We want to cut red tape and speed things up but we will not compromise the interest of owners and residents.”

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