7 steps to get positive results on your condo complaints
Inquirer Property recently received a letter from an owner of a high-end condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, who wrote that more than 80 fellow residents and unit owners had asked the developer to fix the building’s numerous problems.
That letter contained a virtual litany of complaints about the condominium units’ substandard workmanship and undelivered promises. It was addressed to the high-profile developer’s president and executive secretary.
Three dialogues had already taken place, with no clear action made by the developer. Hence, the owner felt compelled to forward the letter to this paper.
The complaints range from faulty wiring to violations of building codes. The unit owner claims to have endured months of hardship due to the following: water leak; undelivered facilities and amenities such as park and lagoon, massage room, wine cellar, clubhouse, wood floors, walk-in closets, and intercom with security cameras.
Other complaints were; the absence of firetruck access; defective countertops; late delivery of units; industrial water rates; false advertising (in violation of Presidential Decree No. 957); faulty joints of prefab concrete walls resulting in leaks; falling ceiling; maid’s quarters and bathroom designed in the same room without separation; faulty plumbing; damaged doors; flooding garages; restaurants instead of retail stores, thus causing noise upon residents; restaurant exhaust in residential basement resulting in cars and hallways smelling of food and stale cooking oil; faulty plumbing, and electrical wiring not up to code.
According to the complainant, these defects have all been documented.
In such cases, what can an owner/buyer do to “get the attention” of the developer and get positive action on his or her condo unit?
Veteran real estate broker and civil engineer Enrico Cruz, president of Urban Institute of Real Estate, said during an interview that the unit owners faced with the same predicament can follow these 7 steps:
1The letter should be properly received by the developer, signed as received by the receiving staff or clerk, indicating the “received from” date.
2Developers should have replied to that letter within seven days. If there is no reply, file a written complaint with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, attaching the letter sent to the developer.
3Copy furnish Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. or Subdivision and Housing Developers Association because the developer that would be a member of these associations, has written contracts and commitments with buyers, and these two associations are “witnesses” to these commitments.
4Send media organizations your complaints so the public can be informed and be warned from being in the same situation.
5Owners should make sure that their complaints are properly documented, such as pictures of the defects, and the certification of engineers and other related professionals.
6There is strength in numbers. If you are aware of other owners who have the same related complaints, file the complaints as a group to strengthen your case.
7Consult with a property expert or a lawyer who specializes in property laws so that you are aware of your legal options, should all else fail.
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