HLURB to developers: Be honest to buyers

Original Article from Cebu Daily News by Vanessa Lucero

20 subdivision projects with over 1,700 house-and-lot units granted licenses to sell in first quarter

Implementation of stricter advertising rules for property development projects has promoted transparency and protected both buyers and sellers, a housing official said.

The new rules, which took effect on April 16, require developers and brokers to provide specific information about their projects in their advertisements.

Alixes Roy T. Lopez, regional director of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), appealed to developers and brokers to comply with the revised rules and be more honest with their buyers.

“Developers should comply with all the new requirements so as to avoid penalties. Brokers should register now for the protection of the investments of the buyers and also so that we can help them,” Lopez told Cebu Daily News.

Buyers, for their part, should also be more vigilant when purchasing properties and do background checks on developers and sellers, he said.

“Do not sign blank contracts. And if you have any doubts about the place you are interested in, before signing anything, call the office or go to the website,” he added.

Cebu is the site of around 80% of housing projects in the  Central Visayas region, Lopez said.

In the first quarter of this year, he said HLURB granted licenses to sell to 20 subdivision projects offering 1,773 house-and-lot packages and 705 lots. These projects have a combined estimated cost of P6.2 trillion, Lopez said.

The HLURB is closely monitoring compliance of Resolution No. 921, which revised the implementing rules and regulations governing advertisements of subdivision and condominium projects.

Advertisements promoting a real estate development project now have to provide the name of the owner or developer, the exact location of the property, target completion date and pricing. The license to sell as approved by HLURB should also be stated.

Even online advertisements are not spared. Lopez said two personnel have been assigned to monitor online advertisements.

Another resolution, No. 922, requires dealers, brokers and salesmen of subdivision and condominium projects to register with the HLURB.

Lopez said it’s now easier to track down brokers and developers, as long as they are in the HLURB database.

“Disputes between buyers and sellers are easily solved because it is much easier to contact the seller and check if he or she followed the new guidelines,” Lopez said.

In a way, he said the sellers are also protected because HLURB can easily review their papers.

“If they have been following all the guidelines, then the complaints are easily managed and if there is something lacking, then it can be readily resolved,” he added.

To track down unregistered brokers and sellers, Lopez said they rely merely on information provided by the complainants.

So far, he said 402 brokers, 686 salespersons and 45 business firms have registered with the HLURB.

HLURB-7  boasts of being the only regional office that releases licensing and development permits in 21 days.

“In other regions, it takes them more than a month to release the permit. Here, we are able to release the permit in 21 days. We have been able to do that for year,” Lopez said.

To secure a license to sell, a developer will have to submit advertisements for approval and register brokers and realtors. This takes only five days, if all requirements are complied with.

“If we stick to the guidelines and follow the guidelines, there should be no problems,” Lopez added.

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