Saturday, September 26

House buyer wins RM40,000 claim over smaller land

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KOTA KINABALU: A woman who found that the land area of the house she bought is 20 percent smaller than the size stipulated in the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) was yesterday awarded RM40,000 by the Housing Purchaser Claims Tribunal.

Tan Kern Ping told the Tribunal President, Haji Ahmad Sedik, that she bought the semi-detached house at Ujana Seri Anggerik for RM578,000 and was promised a land area of 3,786 square feet.

However, the respondent, CL Pertama Development Sdn Bhd, could only deliver 2,960 square feet of land inclusive of the building to her, as the land on a steep slope that was supposed to form part of the land for her cannot be utilized.

Tan had claimed that the respondent removed 20 per cent of her land without informing her in advance and refusing the pay the rightful amount of compensation to her.

It is stated in the SPA that the piece of land behind the house would be ‘open space’, which gave her the impression that the land was usable, she said.

The valuation conducted by Smiths Gore Sabah on behalf of the claimant on the loss of 826 square feet of land was valued at RM70,000, or equivalent to RM85 per square foot, she said.

Tan however claimed for the maximum of RM40,000 as the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is limited to that amount.

The respondent, on the other hand, had argued that the claimant should have noticed and had full knowledge of the steep elevation within her boundary line when she signed the booking proforma, indicating that the claimant had inspected the development plan.

According to the respondent’s earlier written submission, the respondent made the disclosure that there was no way they would deliver the exact 3.786 square feet of flat and usable land to the claimant as it would be costly to cut the steep slope.

By not cutting the hill slope within the boundary, it would help to save construction cost and enable the respondent to sell the property at the affordable price.

The respondent had also said that they did not anticipate facing any problem by not revealing the detail of the land size since the slope is given free without any charge. Ahmad said there was no acceptance of the reduction in size of the land by the claimant.

“In this context, it must be borne in mind that the claimant was not buying the said property for the purpose of turning it into a quarry or some other purposes in respect of which the flatness of the land would not be essential. She was buying a house on a plot of land,” he ruled.

“She was therefore entitled, under the SPA, to obtain 3,786 square feet of land suitable not only to have a house and extra space for her to do landscaping and other things necessary to enable her to enjoy and use the said land as registered owner,” he said.

Ahmad said the presence of the slope did not mean the total land area can be substantially reduced, as he viewed the slope and reduction of land area as two different things.

Ahmad subsequently ordered the respondent to pay RM40,000 to the claimant within 21 days from the date of the judgment.