The Tribunal for Homebuyers Claims (TPPR) works to resolve disputes between developers and purchasers. As this housing tribunal is set up to protect purchasers’ interests, no legal representations are allowed, which helps level the playing field. Here, you’ll discover all you need to know about the housing tribunal. From its function to limitations, tips on filing for claims to handling of different scenarios, it’s all covered below.
The Homebuyer’s Tribunal was established in 2002, with the aim of safeguarding home buyers’ interests, as most home buyers would have limited resources compared to property developers.
What is the function of the Housing Tribunal (TPPR)?
The Homebuyer’s Tribunals addresses one of the underlying objectives of the Housing Development Act (HDA) 1966, which is to protect the interest of purchasers in the event of disputes, conflicts, and claims that arise from property purchases.
The Homebuyer’s Tribunal provides an avenue for dispute resolution between developers and purchasers in a quicker and cost-effective manner, without legal representation and heavy legal fees.
What is the cost of filing a homebuyer’s claim?
Home buyers can file a claim at only RM10, and the first hearing date and time will be determined upon submission at the tribunal’s office. If there aren’t any technical and legal complexities, the Homebuyer’s Tribunal will award within 60 days after the case was filed.
What you should know before filing a claim with the Housing Tribunal?
1. Eligibility and types of homebuyer claims
It is important to know the tribunal’s jurisdiction before filing a homebuyer claim. Section 16N of the HDA provides that the tribunal’s jurisdiction is limited to a claim based on a course of action arising from the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) entered between the home buyer and the property developer.
In Country Garden Danga Bay Sdn Bhd V. Tribunal Tuntutan Pembeli Rumah & Anor, a claim based on the home buyer’s expectations that the unit purchased should correspond in all respect with the property developer’s display model was dismissed as it’s not a fit and proper claim to be adjudicated before the tribunal.
This is because Section 16N of HDA precludes the tribunal from exercising jurisdiction over a claim that is NOT based on an express term of the SPA. Therefore, the tribunal could only act within the statute and doesn’t include any purported agreement nor conduct outside of the SPA.
A home buyer can submit a claim for any loss suffered concerning his/her interests as a home buyer. The types of homebuyer claim that the tribunal usually deals with include:
- Late delivery of vacant possession of the property;
- Late delivery of common facilities;
- Payment of liquidated and ascertained damages claims (LAD);
- Refund of deposit;
- Refund of late interest charges;
- Defective workmanship;
- Defective materials; and
- Property not constructed in accordance with the approved plans stated in the SPA.
Section 16N(1) of the HDA highlights that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the following claims:
- For the recovery of land or any estate or interest in land; and
- For disputes concerning:
(i) the entitlement of any person under a will/settlement/intestacy
(ii) goodwill; or
(iii) any trade secret or other intellectual property right.
2. Award limit of a homebuyer’s claim
The Homebuyer’s Tribunal can enforce an award of up to RM50,000, in accordance with Section 16M(1) of the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966.
Section 16O of HDA states that the amount can be extended if both parties agree. However, that never happens.
3. Time limit of a homebuyer’s claim
Under Section 16N(2) of HDA, any claims made to the Homebuyer’s Tribunal must be brought by a home buyer not later than 12 months from:
a) the date of issuance of the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC) for the housing accommodation or the common facilities intended for subdivision (whichever is later);
b) the expiry date of the defects liability period as set out in the SPA; or
c) the date of termination of the SPA by either party. Such termination must occur before the date of issuance of the CCC for the housing accommodation or common facilities intended for subdivision (whichever is later).
In Syarikat Pembinaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd v TTPR & Others, it was ruled that for claims on late delivery of vacant possession, the time limit to file a claim must not be later than 12 months from the date of issuance of CCC.
As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to file a claim not later than 12 months from the date of CCC to avoid a claim being time-barred.Check out properties for sale
4. Legal Representation for a Housing Tribunal
No legal representatives are allowed, except if it involves complex legal issues.
Examples of representation by tribunal claimants:
- Claim by an individual: Can be represented by the person named in the claim
- Claim by a corporation/company: Can be represented by a full-time employee
- Claim by a minor or OKU: Can authorise a representative to represent
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Step-by-step procedure for filing a claim
Step 1: Make a Statement of Claim
- Claimants must fill in 4 original copies of Form 1 or Borang Tuntutan oleh Pembeli Rumah. They should make a statement of claim clearly, with the claim amount. Claimants should also specify the order that they are seeking in the claim. All 4 original forms must be signed by the claimant.
- Fill in the Borang Butiran TTPR.
For non-technical housing claims, claimants must provide:
- A copy of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA)
- A copy of the Notice of Delivery of Vacant Possession (VP)
- A copy of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC)
- Any other related documents
For technical claims such as defective workmanship and materials, and property not constructed in accordance with the approved plans stated in the SPA, the claimant must provide:
- A copy of the SPA
- A copy of the Notice of Delivery of Vacant Possession (VP)
- A copy of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC)
- 3 quotations from an independent contractor or a recognised body
- 3 copies of technical claims (borang senarai tuntutan teknikal)
- 3 colour copies of defects
- 3 copies of the 1st and 2nd Notice to the Developer to repair the defects.
As stated in the article earlier, the filing fee for each claim is RM10.
Step 2: Service of documents to the property developer
Once Form 1 has been filed, the following parties will have a copy:
- Serve a copy to the respondent
- Serve a copy to the financier bank
- Serve a copy to the property developer, with an acknowledgement of receipt
The claimant will then receive Form 4 with details of the hearing date and time. Form 1 can be served by hand or registered post within 14 days from when Form 1 was filed. Registered post is recommended as hand delivery can get complicated, if the recipient refuses to acknowledge receipt of the form.
Step 3: Statement of Defence and Counterclaim by Respondent
In Form 2 or Borang Pembelaan oleh Pemaju, the respondent can state the reason(s) for declining the claim and make a counterclaim, if any. The respondent needs to prepare and sign Form 2 and submit 4 copies of supporting documents and file it with the tribunal. Service of documents must be done by hand (personal delivery) or registered post within 14 days upon receipt of Form 1.
Step 4: Tribunal Hearing Checklist
Before attending the hearing, claimants should go through this list:
1. Identification documents:
- For individual – NRIC / Passport
- For developer/minor/OKU – Authorisation letter
2. Proof of service of Form 1 or Form 2 (if you’re the respondent)
3. Any other related documents
During the hearing, the tribunal will hear the presentation of the case by both parties and tendering of evidence. The typical process of examination, cross-examination and re-examination in courts prevails in tribunals too.
Thus, both parties are advised to write down the sequence of witnesses to be called upon, questions, and the possible flow of argument, during cross-examination and re-examination.
Claimants can use Form 11 to subpoena witnesses if any. Expert witnesses can be called as witnesses to support the claim. If relevant, the developer’s defect team or the Building Manager can also be the witnesses.
During the hearing – take note of these!
- Explanation of the claim: Be well prepared and familiar with the details in the statement of claim/defence.
- Proof of receipt of the registered post: Have this ready at hand.
- Strategise: Claimants are advised to strategise the basis of the claim and prepare questions and flow of arguments. For evidence in support, it’s recommended to organise the forms and supporting documents in an orderly manner.
Step 5: Award upon completion of Housing Tribunal
The tribunal will make its award without delay and, where practicable, within 60 days from the first day of the hearing. The award is:
- Final and binding on all parties to the proceedings.
- Deemed to be an order of a Magistrate’s Court or a Sessions Court, as the case may be, and be enforced accordingly by any party to the proceedings.
Types of awards or possible outcomes of the Housing Tribunal
- Not limited to ordering one party to pay the other party
- Refund of monies paid.
- Developers have to comply with the SPA.
- Compensation for any loss or damage suffered by the claimant
- To vary a contract or set aside wholly or in part
- Any costs incurred by the claimant. For example, the management of a condominium can take up the repair of water leaking and claim back the costs from the parcel owner involved
- Interest to be paid on late payments (of maintenance costs, etc)
- Dismissal of claim
Possible scenarios during or after the Housing Tribunal
1. Both parties are absent on the hearing day
The case may be struck out! In this circumstance, the claimant may file Form 1 again.
2. Respondent did not file the Statement of Defence
Form 5: Adjourn the hearing for the respondent to file a defence.
3. Respondent admits to the claim
Awards and settlements are recorded in writing in Form 6.
4. Claimant is absent, but the respondent is present.
- If the respondent has NO counterclaim: The claim is dismissed.
- If there’s a counterclaim: Make an award for the counterclaim in Form 7
- Adjourn hearing (discretionary)
- The claimant can set aside the award within 30 DAYS by filing Form 12 or Borang Permohonan untuk mengetepikan award. The hearing will then resume.
5. Claimant is present, but the respondent is absent
- Adjourn to the next date, or proceed to make an award in Form 8.
- The award can be set aside within 30 DAYS by filing Form 12. The hearing will then resume.
6. Both parties present
If all documents are in order: The hearing and tendering of evidence and calling of witnesses will proceed accordingly. There can be 2 outcomes to the trial, where
- If one party deny the claim, the TRRP president will make a decision, which will be written in Form 6 (Tribunal Award)
- Should both parties reach a consensus, this decision will be written in Form 9 (A settlement of consent). If both parties reach a settlement agreement, it can be recorded in the tribunal’s Award by Consent.
Alternatively, the claimant can withdraw the claim and sign a settlement agreement by consent between the parties. It’s advisable to get the agreement vetted and reviewed properly before agreeing to the terms (Form 10: Award after the hearing)
➡️You can also check out the list of TPPR documents on the Jabatan Perumahan Negara (JPN) website.
Non-compliance of the Tribunal Award (Ingkar Award)
The tribunal award is final and binding. It is an offence for non-compliance with the award. In the event of non-compliance, it needs to be registered at the court first. Once registered, the award is deemed as a court order and can be enforced in civil courts accordingly (civil proceeding).
The Jabatan Perumahan Negara will prosecute any party for non-compliance and one is liable to:
- A fine not exceeding RM250,000; or
- Imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years; or
In the case of a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding RM5,000 every day, or part thereof, during which the offence continues after conviction (criminal proceeding). You may refer to the following flowcharts for a better understanding of the procedures:
Although the Housing Tribunal has been designed to be a layman’s platform, with a simplified structure and procedure, the claimant must still be committed to gathering information and know-how needed for the claim.
Otherwise, the claimant will end up wasting his/her time, effort, and money, as well as the Tribunal’s, and result in a predicament which doesn’t add any value in resolving the dispute(s) or issue(s).
This article was co-authored by Ho Suet Jing, RISM Diploma (Property Management, Valuation & Estate Agency Surveying), LLB(Hons), M.A., CLP. Special thanks is also extended to Tn Roshan Kshstriys (Former Head of Claims & Legal Section, Tribunal Perumahan dan Pengurusan Strata) for his valuable sharing and input.