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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

House moves to protect home buyers
05-January-2017, 03:21:25 PM

The House committee on housing and urban development is set to pass during the resumption of session the various measures which provide further protection for buyers of subdivision and condominium units.

Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte (6th District, Quezon City), committee vice chairman, gave the assurance, saying their panel will vote on House Bill No. 1337, authored by Rep. Scott Davies Lanete (3rd District, Masbate), HB 3150 by Rep. Gary Alejano (Party-List, Magdalo) and HB 4534 by Rep. Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) when session resumes this month.

Belmonte said Presidential Decree No. 957, otherwise known as “Regulating the Sale of Subdivision Lots and Condominiums, Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” issued on July 12, 1976, is an antiquated Marcos order that needs updating and strengthening in order to guarantee further protection for property buyers.

“We must ensure the law that protects those that have the capacity to purchase subdivision or condominium units is made responsive to the needs of the times,” said Belmonte.

Alejano said his bill seeks to amend certain provisions of P.D. 957 to enhance protection for subdivision and condominium buyers from fraudulent and unscrupulous subdivision and condominium developers and sellers.

Alejano raised concerns about the violations being committed by subdivision and condominium developers and sellers such as plan alteration to the detriment of buyers, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who buy properties without seeing the actual purchased units.

Alejano pushed for stiffer penalties to discourage condominium and subdivision from continuously committing violations.

Moreover, he asked the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to provide the committee with the list of complaints against the developers so Congress can act on them accordingly.

Lanete echoed Alejano’s concerns, adding that oftentimes, the developers and sellers do not disclose everything to the buyers when they offer land, real estate, houses, condominiums, development projects, and the like.

Lante said there must be full disclosure in the sale of subdivision and condominium units as it is the right of the buyers to know the conditions before they step into their purchased property.

Lanete said his bill aims to deter the deliberate violation of the law by some unscrupulous owners and developers and ensure further the protection of buyers of condominium and subdivision units.

Yap said his bill seeks to impose higher penalties for violations being committed by condominium and subdivision developers and sellers such as failure to complete the development of the project within the prescribed period and failure to deliver the title to the buyer or owner.

Rep. Gavini Pancho (2nd District, Bulacan) expressed support for the common proposal of the authors to impose higher penalties for violations by developers and sellers.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) asked the HLURB to provide the committee with the list of developers who are selling properties without license to sell so Congress could take the necessary action.

Rep. Rodel Batocabe (Pary-List, AKO BICOL) suggested that as an additional protection for buyers of subdivision and condominium units, the substantive provisions of the contract given to buyers must be clearly stated in a separate document so the buyers could understand the basic terms and conditions of the contract.

The HLURB, which presented its position on the proposed House measures, suggested to include a provision in the proposed legislation that states: “Sales made in the absence of a license to sell shall be rescissible at the instance of the buyer provided that no such license to sell has yet been issued to the project at the time the rescission is sought and the buyer has not taken possession of the property purchased and the title has not been transferred to the buyer’s name.”

The HLURB said the proposal would add more teeth in requiring the developer to secure a license before making any sales.

The HLURB also suggested the inclusion of a provision on payment and financing scheme for the buyers and their specifics, such as what happens if the Pag-IBIG or bank loan is not granted and when to start the amortization, among others.

The HLURB has also expressed support for the proposal to increase the amount of fines for the violations committed by developers.