Sheda: Paying booking fees more beneficial to house buyers than paying 10 pct non-refundable deposit

Augustine Wong.

KUCHING, March 24: Without the practice of placing booking fees, prospective homeowners will be required to sign a Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) and make a 10 per cent non-refundable deposit to developers, says Sarawak Housing and Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) president Augustine Wong.

He welcomed the decision of the Kuching High Court today in favour of RJ Realty Sdn Bhd, as Wong said in Sarawak, the practice of giving and receiving booking fees enables purchasers to make informed decisions regarding property, without incurring heavy losses.

“In his wisdom, Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew has recognised that the practice of accepting booking fees in Sarawak grants options to interested purchasers.

“Through the use of booking fees, purchasers are given the freedom to select their preferred units and to reserve their choice of property pending approval of housing loans.

“With a booking fee practice in place, purchasers will not need to worry about forfeiting a full 10 per cent deposit, in the event housing loans are not approved,” said Wong.

He was further encouraged that Siew distinguished the application of the Sarawak Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Ordinance 2013 from the Housing Development Act which is applied in West Malaysia.

“Had the decisions of the Sarawak Housing Tribunal been allowed to stand, the impact would negatively affect the entire housing industry throughout Sarawak, to the detriment of genuine purchasers, who would bear the highest risk.

“Without the buffer timeframe provided by the practice of placing booking fees, purchasers would be required to sign their respective SPAs and immediately pay a non-refundable 10 per cent deposit to the developer, without knowing if their housing loans are approved,” said Wong.

Wong said SHEDA members were relieved that Siew had ruled that Liquidated Ascertained Damages (LAD) should be calculated from the signing of the SPA.

The Kuching High Court has ruled today that the Federal Court’s decision in PJD Regency Sdn Bhd v Tribunal Tuntutan Pembeli Rumah & Anor and Other Appeals was not applicable to Sarawak and Sabah.

RJ Realty Sdn Bhd had applied for a judicial review in the Kuching High Court for cases where the Sarawak Housing Tribunal have been following the Federal Court’s decision in PJD Regency Sdn Bhd v Tribunal Tuntutan Pembeli Rumah & Anor and Other Appeals in awarding LAD for late delivery of houses/apartments from the date of booking, and not from the date of the SPA. — DayakDaily