By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
This month’s collection of articles from common interest and planned communities around the world.
Leasehold scandal: Developers could face criminal charges for breaking consumer protection rules when selling new build homes (U.K.)
- Buyers were not made aware of vital details prior to purchasing property
- Purchasers have been affected up and down the country
- Conveyancers and solicitors may also be held to account
By WILL KIRKMAN FOR THISISMONEY.CO.UK
PUBLISHED: 02:20 EDT, 6 July 2018 | UPDATED: 03:06 EDT, 6 July 2018
Developers could face criminal charges after failing to disclose onerous terms in leasehold agreements that see new build homeowners charged thousands of pounds a year in ground rent and unexpected charges.
Some 1,170 people affected by the scandal responded to a survey put out by Conveyancing Association and Homeowners Alliance, 98 per cent of whom claim they weren’t told what they were getting into before viewing their properties.
Just 2 per cent of purchasers said they had received enough information prior to viewing a property to make an informed decision, and a scant 3.8 per cent of respondents said they had received vital details prior to purchase.
According to the Conveyancing Association, this failure to disclose the leasehold details breaks consumer protection rules and could mean developers face criminal investigation.
Thousands of homebuyers were not aware they were buying leasehold properties, because this information was not disclosed prior to purchase. Although they own the homes, they don’t own the land beneath their homes, making them subject to ground rents charged by the developer or future landowner. Homeowners have reported rapidly escalating ground rents, reducing their property values, making it impossible to sell their homes and escape their predicament. Criminal Investigations are under way.
No screaming kids: Mount Eliza residents rise up against new playground
By Carolyn Webb
2 July 2018 — 7:09pm
The sound of children playing makes many people happy, but for some residents in a sedate Melbourne neighbourhood, the prospect of “loud, screaming, noisy children” in a proposed playground would only be noise pollution.
It’s among the reasons residents of Mount Eliza have fired up in opposition to plans to install a playground in a small bushland park.
One local opined on social media that “the playground would bring in loud, screaming, noisy children which would disturb the calm and peaceful environment for the residents”.
Another irate homeowner, who lives on Sunset Crescent that borders the park and wished to remain anonymous, told The Age that she loved the area for its serenity, and “at my age I need a bit of peace and quiet”.
“Who wants to listen to screaming kids and squeaking playground equipment?”
How close should playgrounds be to residential dwellings? These homeowners think there should be some separation between their homes and areas where children play, especially since school playgrounds are just a short walk from the community.
Langley condo owners who never moved into their units take legal battle to a higher court (Canada)
May 12, 2018 9:09pm
A potentially precedent-setting case involving homeowners who never moved into the Langley condos they bought years ago was heard in the B.C. Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
The saga began in 2015. People started buying pre-sale condos in Murrayville House, a 92-unit building on 221A Street in Langley.
Problem is, the owners never moved into their units.
Instead, the project was plagued by lawsuits between developers and lenders. When the building went into receivership, it was revealed that some units had been sold two, three, even four times.
Fred West, one of the buyers, said he never thought his condo purchase would end up in a bitter court battle.
“The main concern here is absolutely no protection for the homebuyer, the consumer,” West said.
Read more (Video):
In Canada, as in major cities in the U.S., buyers regularly risk their money on pre-construction purchases of condo units, long before the project breaks ground. But if the developer cannot finance construction for any reason, what happens to buyer deposit money? It may never be recovered.
And if most of the condos are constructed before the developer declares bankruptcy, as was the case with Murrayville House, buyers end up with financial obligations, but no place to live.
Stonebridge homeowners pan developer’s plan for golf course
CBC CBCJune 28, 2018
Residents packed into the Stonebridge Golf Course and Country Club conference room in Barrhaven Wednesday night to send Mattamy Homes a message: leave the greens alone.
Mattamy organized the meeting, which included golf course architect Ted Baker, to explain how it would rearrange the course off Longfields Drive, shortening holes to accommodate the construction of 158 homes.
However, Stonebridge residents are concerned about what that would mean for the future of the community, which was built around the golf course.
“This looks like it may be the first step in a longer-term plan to build over the entire course. They weren’t able to answer any questions about that this evening,” said Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association.
“People have made investments in this community and this is threatening those investments at the heart of this community.”
Shortening the holes would move Stonebridge to a lower class of golf course, from championship to executive.
Golf is dying in Canada, too. In Stonebridge, homeowners invested in homes on a championship golf course, but now the developer is planning to downsize the course in order to build 158 more homes.
KPKT: 7,000 cases in strata tribunal backlog (Malaysia)
June 12, 2018 17:44 pm +08
PUTRAJAYA (June 12): Minister of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Zuraida Kamaruddin has proposed that the number of strata tribunal presidents and interpreters be increased to clear the backlog of 7,000 cases.
“Strata tribunal has a lot of [complaints]. We have 7,000 cases [in] backlog. With that, I suggest to increase the number of presidents, which currently we have around 20, and set up a team of panel interpreters,” she said during the weekly ministry press conference in Putrajaya today.
She explained that some cases are forced to be delayed due to lack of Tamil and Chinese interpreters.
Even in non-western cultures, condo communities (known as strata in some parts of the world) are hotbeds of conflict, leading to costly and time consuming litigation.
And, last but not least, here is some real estate industry spin from Uganda, intended to reel in more condo buyers.
Why condominiums are good
June 20, 2018, Daily Monitor
Many people want to own homes but few can handle the baggage that comes with it. If you cannot deal with the extra cost of maintenance, a condominium could be what you need.
By SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA
Condominiums are groups of housing units, where each unit is owned by an individual and shared space is communally owned.
In an article on the Balance Small Business website, James Kimmons, a real estate agent, says the main difference between condominiums and regular single homes is that there is no individual ownership of a plot of land.
Ismail Mulindwa, a property manager from I.Mulin, says Ugandans have started opting for condominium property ownership instead of renting an apartment for several reasons.