Federal Court allows developer's appeal to quash compensation awarded to Singaporean housebuyer

Federal Court allows developer's appeal to quash compensation awarded to Singaporean housebuyer
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PUTRAJAYA (Feb 10): The Federal Court here today allowed the appeal by a Danga Bay housing project developer in Johor to quash the compensatory award given by the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims to a Singaporean house buyer.

A three-member bench comprising Federal Court judges Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof, Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang allowed Country Garden Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (CGDB)'s appeal to set aside the Court of Appeal's decision in dismissing its judicial review to quash the award given by the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims.

The court ordered the respondent, Ho Chee Kian, to pay RM30,000 in costs.

When contacted, lawyer Leonard Yeoh who appeared with lawyer Datuk Dr Cyrus Das for CGDB, confirmed the court's decision, saying that the court answered the first legal question in the affirmative while the other three questions in the negative.

He said the court ruled that the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims could only decide on claims based upon the express terms of the sales and purchase (S&P)agreement and not based on the purchaser's expectation of the unit purchased corresponding with a display model at the developer's showroom.

Ho signed S&P agreement with CGDB on Aug 23, 2013, to purchase a condominium unit in the project.

He claimed that the unit should have a covered balcony but when the vacant possession was delivered, the balcony was not covered and he lodged a complaint to CGDB via a letter dated Dec 4, 2017.

Ho subsequently filed a claim with the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims claiming for RM50,000 as compensation for the wrong unit that was given to him.

On June 7, 2018, the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims awarded Ho compensation of RM50,000, prompting CGDB to file a judicial review in the High Court in July 2018.

The High Court, on Dec 27, 2018, dismissed CGDB’s judicial review application for a certiorari order to quash the decision of the Johor Bahru Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims made in favour of Ho for a claim of damages for breach of the S&P agreement.

CGDB lost its appeal in the Court of Appeal which was dismissed on Dec 11, 2019.

The developer, however, obtained leave to appeal to the Federal Court last year with four legal questions for the court's determination.

Lawyer Viola Lettice DeCruz represented Ho.