When Professionals Abuse Their Positions Of Trust

You are excited when the developer sends you a much awaited letter to take vacant possession (VP) of your house. Having taken the keys, you want to get water and electricity connected. But the developer has not given you any application forms, which should be given with the keys. This has been happening and can happen to any house buyer.

A purchaser of a condominium unit at Southbay Plaza, Batu Maung, Penang, experienced this. He came to CAP with his dilemma. The developer had firmly told him the project had been issued the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) by the project architect. Thus according to the developer, Vacant Possession had been delivered in compliance with the Sale and Purchase Agreement (S&P).

CAP advised him to write officially to the TNB to enquire why the meter application forms had not been given yet. The reply stated that electricity supply was not available yet at the meter point when the developer gave the keys.

This meant that the Vacant Possession handed to him was defective and not valid. The developer was possibly trying to evade paying Liquidated Ascertained Damages (LAD) for late delivery.
The Purchaser filed a claim in the House Buyer Claims Tribunal against the developer for LAD from the date of completion according to the S&P (28/04/2016), to the date TNB meter application forms were issued (07/06/2016).

At the Tribunal, The developer claimed that CCC issued on 25/04/2016 complied with the General Circular No. 3/2008 dated 27.11.2008 issued by the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia. He stated the Circular clarifies that “on the date the Purchaser takes vacant possession of the said Parcel with water and electricity supply ready for connection”, the works in relation to the installation/ construction of the electrical and water meters need not be completed.

The developer was referring to the third column of the Circular when the relevant column was the second column which is headed “Description of Construction Work That Must Be Completed For Certification”.
Among others, these are:

> Water and electricity supply available and ready for connection for tapping into the said parcel
> The TNB sub-station should be energised or alternative electricity by TNB is provided
> All external electrical cablings from sub-station to the unit must be completed with supply

The Tribunal found in favour of the Purchaser and was awarded RM15,715.74 by the Tribunal.
CAP then reported the architect to the Board of Architects which found him GUILTY of the following charge:

“That you had wrongly certified the Form G16 (External Electricity Supply System) and the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) without ensuring an electricity are ready for connection, respectively for,

“SOUTHBAY PLAZA @ PUNCAK SOUTH BAY, NO. 1, CHANGKAT BATU MAUNG 1, 11960 BAYAN LEPAS, PULAU PINANG”

“The Disciplinary Committee hereby severely REPRIMANDS you and also imposes A FINE OF RM25,000.00 (RINGGIT MALAYSIA TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND) to be paid within 30 DAYS from the date hereof in favour of Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia”.

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