Homebuyer Tribunal Guide | What You Can Claim and the Filing Process
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Have you ever thought of what would happen if you get a house in a different condition than what the developer promised you to?
Imagine the joy and excitement of finally moving into your new home after 2 years of waiting for it to be completed. New kitchen space, bigger living room, swimming pool for you and your kids, all the things that you have been dreaming of are finally ready for you to live! You finally get the keys in your hand, pack the kids in the car, and all aboard to get to your new house only to be disappointed with how it turned out. The kitchen cabinets are not installed, the living room’s wall is cracking, and the worst thing is, the swimming pool is an abandoned project! On top of that, you were supposed to receive your keys months ago. What are you going to do?
Be a smart homebuyer and claim your rights through Homebuyer’s Tribunal.
Established by the government in Dec 2002, Homebuyer’s Tribunal otherwise known as Homebuyer Claim is a cheap yet efficient way to determine and obtain compensation from developers to homeowners for any loss suffered or any matter pertaining to the house and its development. As homeowners, your interests are protected under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (HDA).
Why opt for Tribunal instead of directly suing the developer through Court proceedings you might ask?
Well for one, it is way less expensive.
With only RM10 to file a claim, you could save yourselves thousands of ringgits on the legal fees compared to hiring a lawyer. It is way faster too! A Tribunal award or compensation is usually given to homeowners within 60 days from the first day of the hearing. In comparison with a Court proceeding, it would usually take a minimum of 6 months to receive a settlement given if there are no delays.
Still not convinced of the Tribunal power?
The Tribunal can award monies or have a party comply with the SPA.
When filing for Tribunal, it has the power to grant one or more of below:
- A party of the proceedings pay money to the other party
- Refunded money paid by the homebuyer
- A party to comply with the Sale and Purchase Agreement
- The person bringing the claim to be compensated for any loss or damage suffered
- The contract is varied or set aside
- Paid for the costs and/or interest to any part
- Dismissed claim
What can and can’t be claimed through Homebuyer Tribunal
There are certain things that you can and cannot claim through the Homebuyer’s Tribunal. Basically, you may file for claim for:
- Defects in workmanship
- Defective materials
- Property not constructed in accordance to the approved plans stated in the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA)
- Late delivery of vacant possession of the property
- Late delivery of common facilities
- Payment of liquidated and ascertained damages claims (LAD)
- Refund of deposit
- Refund of late interest charges
However, Homebuyer’s Tribunal does not apply to:
- Recovery of land
- If the dispute concerns
- The entitlement of any person under a will, settlement or intestacy;
- Any trade secret or intellectual property right, such as copyrights, trademarks, etc.
“I am facing issues with the housing developers now so I can surely claim for Tribunal, right?”
Well it also depends if your claim is suitable for the Homebuyer’s Tribunal. The most important thing to highlight is, the Homebuyer’s Tribunal is only applicable for claims worth RM50,000.00 maximum or below. If the claim exceeds the maximum amount, the Tribunal may still hear the claim if both parties agree in writing that the limit for the claim to be given to the homebuyer stays RM50,000.00. Should the homebuyer decide to obtain a bigger claim, then it might be better to proceed to bring legal proceedings in Court to obtain a judgement against the housing developer.
Another important matter to remember is that the Tribunal claim must be made within 12 months from either;
- The date of issuance of the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC) of the property;
- The expiry of the defects liability period as set out in the Sales and Purchase agreement (SPA);
- The date of termination of the sale and purchase agreement if the agreement was terminated before the date of issuance of the CCC.
If homebuyers want to file for claim after the period mentioned ended, it could no longer be brought to the Tribunal. Instead, a claim to the Court may deem to be fit. However, keep in mind that a Court claim must be made within 6 years from the date of the breach of contract or ‘negligent act’ occurred.
So how do you file for a Homebuyer’s Tribunal Claim?
You may file for Tribunal and submit these documents at your nearest Tribunal office or Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
Upon filing your Form 1, you will need to prepare and submit a list of documents:
- Sales and Purchase Agreement – 1 copy
- Vacant possession letter – 1 copy
- Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO)
- Attach all supporting documents and letters related to your case
- Borang 1 – 4 copies
Click here to download the Tribunal Home Claims Borang 1.
You may also check out these links for:
- Housing Tribunal and Strata Management in Peninsular Malaysia
- Ministry of Housing and Local Government Sabah
- Ministry of Housing and Local Government Sarawak
COVID-19 Act modifications made to HDA
With the Coronavirus Pandemic that has been happening for the past year, many sectors and industries were affected including housing development. Some projects and developments have to be put to a halt which as you can figure out, directly affects the development schedule. As a result of this, many wonders on whether the defects liability period is still valid among many other issues.
Hence, Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Act 2020 (COVID-19 Act) was modified to the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 1966 (HDA 1966). Those modifications include:
- Late payment charges
The developer is not allowed to impose any late payment charges on the unpaid instalments to the purchaser. This applies to purchasers who fail to pay for any instalments of purchase price for the period of 18 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 due to measures taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (PCID Act 1988) to control the spread of COVID-19.
Purchaser may apply to the Minister of Housing and Local Government for an extension, and if approved, the developer is not allowed to impose any late payment charges on the purchaser of the unpaid instalment up to 31 March 2021.
- Delivery of vacant possession and liquidated damages
The period of 18 March 2020 to 31 December 2020 shall be excluded from the calculation of:
- The time for delivery of vacant possession of a housing accommodation by a developer to purchaser
- The liquidated damages payable by the developer for the failure to deliver vacant possession of a housing accommodation to the purchaser.
Developers may apply to the Ministry for extension and if approved, developers may be granted for an extension up to 31 March 2021.
- Defect Liability period
The period from 18 March 2020 to 31 December 2020 shall also be excluded from the calculation of:
- The defect liability period after the date of the purchaser takes vacant possession of a housing accommodation
- The time for the developer to carry out the work to repair defects, shrinkages, and other faults in a housing accommodation.
The purchaser may apply to the Ministry for extension and if approved, the minister may exclude the period up to 31 March 2021 from the calculation of the time period above.
- Limitation period for filing of claim to the Tribunal for Homebuyers Claims
Should the limitation period have expired for homebuyer to file a Homebuyer Claim with the Tribunal during the period of 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020, the homebuyer is entitled to file such claim from 4 May 2020 to 31 March 2021.
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