Room sizes of new homes ‘must be spelt out’ | Developers

Straits Times: Fri, Aug 05

THE days when a buyer finds the sofa does not fit into his new home may soon be over, thanks to tough new rules that will force developers to measure up to the floor plans and flashy showflats they use in the sales campaign. The floor area of roo…
THE days when a buyer finds the sofa does not fit into his new home may soon be over, thanks to tough new rules that will force developers to measure up to the floor plans and flashy showflats they use in the sales campaign.

The floor area of rooms in a new unit, from balconies to bedrooms and the dining area, will have to be accurately outlined so buyers can be confident that they will get what they paid for, down to the last inch.

An initial suggestion had asked developers to give measurements of only spaces like balconies and planters.

The relevant rules and regulations will be amended for this and other earlier proposals, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said yesterday.

Mr Colin Tan, head of research at Chesterton Suntec International, applauded the move to break down homes by room size but suggested it be taken further.

‘It would be better if it is made a requirement that this information be carried in the title deeds or some documents. If the first buyer is entitled to know all this information, why not subsequent buyers?’ he said.

Another key change will see the revised rules applied to all housing developers, even small operators that might be building four units or less.

The move will set a standard across the industry, said analysts, and will reassure buyers that no developer is exempt from the rules.

Another key change will involve the URA naming developers that have violated these and other regulations. This list will be posted on the URA website.

SLP International’s executive director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the naming and shaming exercise might hit the sales of offending firms.

These three new proposals announced yesterday were in response to feedback from an online consultation held in March and April.

The consultation was on a range of proposals put forward by the URA to give buyers better access to accurate and timely information about the market and the units that they are buying.

URA said yesterday that feedback was positive with more than 100 respondents backing the proposals.

It added that it will finalise the changes to the Housing Developers (Control & Licensing) Act (HDCA) and the Housing Developers Rules (HDR) and the rules will come into effect ‘in due course’.

Among the earlier proposals, developers have to get consent from buyers if they want to change a project that has already racked up sales.

Developers will also have to provide information on their track record in earlier projects before issuing the option to purchase.

Developers are not taking any chances, with some telling The Straits Times that their showflats already comply with the proposed changes.

Mr Satia Narjadin, director of Global Orion Properties, said the rule changes would definitely mean extra costs for his firm.

‘But if it applies only to the design of the showflat like adding an extra sliding door or redesigning brochures then the cost is negligible compared to the entire cost of launching a new project,’ he said.

Sales consultant Clement Yap, a prospective buyer in his mid-40s, said previous experiences have made him sceptical about showflats.

While he hopes that there will be a clearer system of filing complaints about offending developers, he is confident that the proposed guidelines will offer more security for buyers like himself.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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