Guidelines to curb showflat tricks on the cards

The Singapore government is planning to release new guidelines on promotional materials for new houses, in order to better help home buyers make decisions.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced last week that stricter rules will likely be introduced to guarantee that developers’ showflats resemble the actual apartments.

Mr. Mah’s announcement comes after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said in February that it was assessing the Housing Developers (Control & Licencing) Act and Housing Developers Rules to offer “more accurate and transparent information on housing projects.”

One area of concern is showflats. Currently, there are no guidelines for display units created by property developers to market their new projects.

Without strict rules, Singapore developers sometimes raise ceilings and remove structural walls and columns to make apartments appear more spacious.

They also include the space housing the air-conditioner ledge and planter box as part of the showflat area.

The Housing Developers (Control & Licencing) Act specifies certain requirements for print advertisements, stating that they must include detail such as the name and licence number of the developer and the date on which home buyers can receive their keys.

However, these rules do not deal with the accuracy of marketing materials, such as correctly drawn maps. The rules also do not prevent overstated artists’ impressions.

Thus, maps in advertisements are often not drawn to scale, with various amenities placed nearer than they actually are. Unpleasant views are also omitted in artists’ impressions, while stunning views are included.

It seems timely that the government has decided to put an end to this problem before it worsens.

The guidelines will also spell out where aggrieved buyers can seek redress — either from the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore (REDAS), the URA or even Case.

Source : PropertyGuru – 8 Mar 2011

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