Paperwork keeps new flats empty
THREE government-subsidised tower blocks in Aberdeen, comprising more than 1,000 flats, are lying empty because the developer has not completed the necessary paperwork.
The development appears complete and even has fully lit entrance lobbies at night, but owners, who made their first payment on the flats in January 1994, cannot move in and may be unable to do so until next year, leaving the completed blocks eerily empty.
The developer, Penta-Ocean Construction, told the Housing Department that it has had trouble with slopes and bad weather during construction.
The company said it wrote to buyers last week telling them of the delay and has set up a hotline for any worried owners.
The three blocks of South Wave Court in Shum Wan Road were sold to the public in December 1993 through the Private Sector Participation Scheme, under which developers receive cheap land in exchange for agreeing to sell flats at below-market rates to families selected by the Housing Department.
The government subsidy on the blocks amounts to about $1 billion and applicants for the 1,040 flats, costing up to $1.3 million each, were told they could move in this July.
Despite the problems, Penta-Ocean was last Saturday selected to build a further 2,500 flats under the same scheme on the Hunghom reclamation.
'The ultimate responsibility lies with them, but we can't pass judgment on whether the developer did anything wrong,' said a Housing Department spokesman.
The sales and purchase agreement states that on completion of a project the Occupation Permit is issued, even though owners cannot move in at this stage.
Bureaucracy means it is 'normal' to take another two or three months before the Lands Department can complete its inspection and issue the Consent to Assign.
An Occupation Permit for the blocks was issued on October 6, but the Lands Department said Penta-Ocean has not yet formally applied for the Certificate of Compliance, which is needed before owners can move in.
An official at the Lands Department said that among the issues that needed to be resolved before the vital certificate could be issued were landscaping around the blocks, finalising the drafting of the master plan, and the deed of mutual covenant, and that even if everything went smoothly it was unlikely the paperwork could be completed by the end of this year.