It’s no secret I have bought myself a house some three years back. As excited I am to be a proud owner of a property, I do somehow feel ‘cheated’ because I can’t do ‘shit’ about the agreement I signed for the sales and purchase, and let’s face it, when the developer appoints a lawyer for you, and takes care of the legal fees, you know who the lawyer may be supporting.
Not too bad for a 31-year old man I must say to myself.
Anyway, if you came here because of the title ‘Tribunal Tuntutan Pembeli Rumah Sarawak‘ (housing tribunal), then read on. I’ve got a story to tell.
Not long ago, I met this officer for the tribunal (I shall not give out any names). Our conversation went on to how the tribunal can actually protect poor people like me, and how they can actually fight for our rights when it comes to owning a property.
The rule of the thumb of course was that no renovation can be made to the house, and you must submit your claim to the tribunal within the warranty period. If I am not mistaken, renovation works can only be carried out after ten years, with approval from the council. Anything before that is considered ‘illegal’.
Anyway, before I moved into the house, I noticed a crack on my front fence and I recalled the conversation with the person from the tribunal. Before I went to complaint to the Tribunal, I opted to contact the developer’s foreman, and told him about it. After weeks, nothing was done to repair the crack. Further communications with the developer was left with empty promises as the crack was allowed to be seen.
This was when I had enough and decided to talk to the good people of the Housing Tribunal. The person in charge at the Housing Tribunal explained in more details about previous cases he had handled and said that I should write to the developer first, and only come back to them shall they not do anything. He suggested that I cc-ed them the letter so that action was to be taken, and so I did. He also told me of loopholes which were manipulated by small contractors in order to bypass certain housing rules.
True enough, after the letter was sent, the developer immediately took and did the repair works.
But barely a month after the repair, cracks could be seen again and I made a similar complaint to the developer. Repairs which I call ‘cosmetic repairs’ were done until the house warranty was over, and hence leaving me powerless to make anymore claims.
The Housing Tribunal was also not so keen to listen to my case since I was already renovating the kitchen, which in a way voids the contract. I guess the fact my case was just a ‘small matter’ also attributed to their lack of interest to help me because I noticed I was doing a lot of running around when the person in charge was doing things at his own pace. He even came late to the office and I waited for close to an hour for him!
It was really such a disappointment since I knew for a fact that the problem could be rectified by building a fence which had a proper footing. The current one was sitting on bare ground, and hence why it keeps cracking. A footing would not cost the developer a lot of money, but for me, RM8,000 for a fence footing is a hell lot!
That said, it is my belief that the Housing Tribunal in Sarawak is a good effort, but it seriously needs to simplify how to work with the tribunal needs to be addressed. The tribunal should have more power to force developers not only to repair what is flawed, but also perhaps reconstruct parts of the house which are not done properly. It would be extremely good if warranties for houses were extended too!
There is no point having a tribunal if it fails to help the purchaser, and leaves the developers to be masters of housing projects. I am also very disappointed with the developer of my house project because they do admit to hiring a poor and irresponsible main contractor for the project, but somewhat do not want to take responsibility for a poorly finished end product. The developer did say they had fined the contractor, but the poor build quality of the house was something I had to live by since it is my property.
I am not the only one complaining about these things since a few other friends who also bought a house were similarly disappointed with the house quality they had. But then again, maok tinggal di bandar, apa boleh buat kan?