While we are all at our own homes during the lockdown last year, I remember having mixed emotions. I was relieved I could hear the birds again instead of cars and buses honking. I loved the silence. I loved not hearing the sound of constructions here and there from condominiums and offices being built. ( I was only work from home for a few months.)
At the same time, I felt guilty enjoying these because I know the silence meant contractuals not getting paid, employees losing their jobs, and dream homes and investments taking more time to be built or completed—a very familiar story since the lockdown.
For instance, I heard about what is happening with CitiGlobal and I understand why many of their buyers whose units have yet to be turned over are growing impatient. It’s not easy to be living on a certain budget for years just so you can pay monthly installments as commit. Understandably, buyers also expect that commitments will be mutual.
In my opinion, the delay on constructions and turnovers is not an isolated to CitiGlobal. It’s happening industry-wide. I think it’s very understandable given the pandemic and the months that we are on lockdown. I’ve seen both videos of buyers who have filed complaints, as well as videos of CitiGlobal updating their investors on what is happening with their two developments, Tagaytay Fontaine Villas and the Tagaytay Clifton Resort Suites.
Again, in my opinion, buyers of these units should worry less because unlike other real estate developers, CitiGlobal is 1. Pushing thru with the completion of the two projects despite quarantine restrictions and 2. Updating its buyers of the actual developments.
In any case, should the buyers opt to refund their payments, a lawyer-friend told me that buyers should know that some refunds must be within the law. She said there are two laws that entitle a buyer to a refund: the Maceda law (Republic Act 6552) also known as the Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act, and the Presidential Decree 957 or the Subdivision and Condominium Buyer’s Protective Decree.
Basically, the Maceda Law applies to buyers of residential properties or homes including condos, who after at least two years of monthly installments, defaults in payments. If the buyer decides to cancel the purchase, he/she can refund 50% of his/her total installment payments including downpayment deposits, other options, or reservation fee. He can refund the same amount if he/she has made installment payments for 3-4 years.
But after making 5 years of installment payments, he/she is entitled to an additional 5%, refund, and another 5% every year thereafter (5 years = 55%, 6 years = 60%, 7 years = 65%) but should not exceed 90% of total payments made.
PD 957, on the other hand, applies to buyers of residential properties or homes including condos, who are not in default but are entitled to a full refund on the following grounds:
- The developer cancelled the project
- The developer failed to complete the development or
- If the developer neglected to deliver the project within the required period
My lawyer friend, however, advised that buyers should look into the fine print of the contract they entered into with the developer as this contain clauses in cases of default or cancellation. She added that refund do not cover buyers who are still paying for the downpayment and not the actual monthly amortization.
While it may be hard to take in, perhaps buyers can also be more considerate of developers at this time as project completions will really need to be pushed back because of the pandemic.
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