Cyberjaya condo unit owners sue developer over alleged rental defaults 17th January, 2018

CYBERJAYA, Jan 17 — Dozens of unit owners of a Cyberjaya condominium have launched a class action suit against a property developer for allegedly defaulting on a rental scheme payment.

This is the second class action suit pursued against The Arc @ Cyberjaya developer Maju Puncakbumi, after a similar lawsuit was filed and won by another group of 137 unit owners of the same condominium.

The latest class action suit participants — 55 unit owners of The Arc — claimed that they were now in debt and faced financial trouble after not receiving their promised rental returns as stipulated under the Option Agreement for Guaranteed Rental Returns (GRR) signed with the project developer, Maju Puncakbumi.

“For this one year plus, without the rental, how am I supposed to pay the bank? Ended up that I had to borrow from relatives and all that. If not, I will get into CCRIS,” a unit owner Patricia Lim said in a press conference at the property today.

 CCRIS, which refers to the Central Credit Reference Information System, is a service platform created by the central bank to provides personal credit reports of a borrower or a potential borrower.

“The reason that I bought this unit and also introduced my brother and my friend to buy is because of the 25 years GRR. So we have hassle-free rental for 25 years, with the option to renew it every four years,” she added.

In its marketing poster, Maju Puncakbumi had marketed the GRR scheme with an option to renew the agreement every four years.

According to the agreement, the unit owner rents out the property to the developer, and the developer must then pay rent to the owner at a rate and tenure stipulated under the agreement.

On its website, Andaman Group, the developer’s management company, had advertised the GRR scheme with two choices: GRR up to six years or up to 25 years with a gross 8 per cent rental income per annum for the first term.

Some of the buyers at the press conference today said this was the deal they were attracted to, leading them to purchase units at the residency.

Lim said that she only received one year’s rental returns and did not receive any more payments.

She and a few other residents decided to initiate the class action suit after the developer issued a notice announcing the sudden termination of the Option Agreement, which only expires in August this year.

“In Cyberjaya there are a lot of condominiums. The reason we bought units here is really because of the GRR. The GRR interested us because we don’t have to have any headache servicing our loans,” Patricia’s brother, Lim Ta Wen, said.

The residents’ lawyer, Vincent Lim Chang, said that the developer had introduced the GRR scheme and promoted it in their property development materials in 2011. This, he said, led to many buyers from the Klang Valley and East Malaysia to invest by buying units in The Arc.

“At the time when they purchased the property, they signed as one package, two agreements; one the sales and purchase agreement to purchase the serviced apartment from the developer. At the same time, they also signed another tenancy agreement: Option Agreement.

“The payment commenced in the year 2014, maybe middle of 2014. But since 2016, sometime in the middle of 2016, the developer defaulted on the payments of the rental to the owners,” Lim Chang added.

He said that despite phone calls, with some residents sending notice of demands, their demands were promptly ignored.

He added that despite Maju Puncakbumi terminating the Option Agreement, the company is still liable to pay rental to the owners as promised.

“It’s a very straightforward case. The owners only want to claim something reasonable for them. They want the rental and the interest. They are demanding something reasonable, lawful and valid,” Lim Chang said, adding that the sum demanded by the 55 unit owners totalled RM1.8 million.

Lim Chang said the developer has yet to reply the notice of demand sent on behalf of his clients.

In November, the Shah Alam High Court ruled in favour of 137 owners of The Arc units in a class action lawsuit that had sought their promised rental returns under the GRR.

Local daily theSun reported that the court awarded the owners RM3.97 million being the outstanding rentals up till May 2017; 8 per cent interest on the outstanding rentals; agreed liquidated damages; general damages; aggravated damages of RM10; exemplary damages; 5 per cent interest on the overall damages and costs of RM15,000. It allowed an interim stay for vacant possession of the units.

The Arc @ Cyberjaya is a serviced apartment development with a commercial component in Cyberjaya. This entire development covers 14.57acres of freehold land.

It consists of four blocks of serviced apartments, four blocks of institutional tower and a sports academy, with each serviced apartment block having 250 units of two- and three-bedroom fully furnished serviced apartments.