Got problems with your property but don’t know who to turn to?
Buying property is a once in a lifetime undertaking, but your responsibilities as a new homeowner don’t end when you sign on that sale and purchase agreement. Of course, ideally you would want a problem-free stay at your new home for eternity.
No sudden cracks or peeling on the walls. No roofs crashing down or holes in the floors. No beams or pillars infested with pests.
But life isn’t always perfect. More than likely, you will encounter various problems and issues throughout your stay, whether it is a landed or strata property. What do you do when you face these problems in your home?
Many, especially young buyers, are stumped when it comes to their rights as homeowners. Other than lodging complaints with your property developers, here are 5 consumer agencies and associations that you may refer to for advice, air your grievances or just to get pertinent information:-
1. National House Buyers Association (HBA)
The HBA is well known as a strong advocate of the rights of Malaysian homebuyers. It is a voluntary, non-political, non-governmental, non-profit organisation and is run by volunteers.
According to HBA, it strives for a balanced, fair and equitable treatment for house buyers in dealing with housing developers.
It was formed in 1999 by a group of aggrieved house buyers who were frustrated in getting their problems solved and was formally launched the following year. The HBA is now one of the most respected consumer associations in the industry.
For more details on how to reach HBA for advice, you can check out their website.
2. National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC)
The main functions of the NCCC include receiving complaints and dispensing advice to consumers, channeling complaints to the appropriate government agencies, analysing and evaluating complaints, as well as facilitating negotiations between the relevant parties.
It also provides useful information and advice on sinking funds, which is utilised for major replacement of parts of the common property. This is particularly valuable for homeowners living in apartments and condominiums.
For more information on the NCCC’s services, please visit their website.
3. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA)
FOMCA is not usually known as a body that deals directly with problems with property owners. Nevertheless, it does raise important awareness about consumer related issues such as electricity, water and the environment that could be very relevant to property owners.
It also has a strong network and associations with various consumer groups nationwide that could be useful points of reference for property owners, depending on what their grouses or problems might be.
FOMCA fights for consumers’ rights to basic needs, safety, information, choice, complain, compensation, education and environment.
Directly or indirectly, these are important areas for homeowners too. Go to FOMCA’s website for more info.
4) Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia (WECAM)
Would your property be complete to live, no matter how beautiful it is, if it was lacking basic electricity and water? WECAM was established to protect various consumer interests in the water and energy sectors.It has historical links with FOMCA. WECAM also provides engineering, analysis and programming technical support groups to FOMCA. WECAM was started together when FOMCA was formed in 1973.
Among its main objectives are to ensure that everyone enjoys safe and clean drinking water and access to energy, as well as empowering consumers to shift to sustainable consumption and green lifestyle. With many property players shifting to green townships and developments to cater for increasing demand for environmentally friendly homes, this would be a relevant source of information to many property owners.
Just browse through their website for more information.
5. Ministry of Housing and Local Government
This would be the most obvious place to lodge a property-related complaint, but is often overlooked. Naturally, the most powerful problem solver in any major grievance related to real estate is the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
However, many homebuyers are either unaware of how the ministry could assist them or are just daunted at the thought of asking a major government body for help.
Thankfully, the ministry seems to have moved with the times with a more consumer friendly approach. A casual peruse of its website yields much useful information, including a helpdesk and hotline for housing matters.
For more details, yo can visit their official website.
Written by Rudi Rajamani.