Icon 'rubbish dump' flat disputes resolved

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am

The dispute over 'rubbish dump' flats at the Icon in Mid-Levels appears to be over as 25 out of 26 buyers have accepted compensation.

By Monday's deadline, 22 of the buyers had accepted a buy-back offer from the developer, Winfoong International, according to Centaline Property Agency, sole agent for the Conduit Road apartments. They will get back 20 per cent more than they paid for their flats.

'These buyers received a 10 per cent deposit of the sum on signing the agreement on Monday. The rest will be paid within 40 days of signing the deal,' Centaline senior sales director Raymond Li-ngai said.

He said three other buyers chose to keep their flats with enclosed kitchens along with HK$600,000 compensation. Another buyer is out of town.

The offers were made to 26 buyers of flats bought for between HK$8.7 million and HK$12.88 million.

The Icon at 38 Conduit Road stands on a site with an 'unrestricted lease', which exempts it from a Lands Department consent scheme that regulates flat sales practice. When buyers took possession of their flats from the developer last month, they complained about unfinished flooring, tiny enclosed kitchens and heaps of construction debris.

They said Centaline leaflets promoting the flats carried floor plans showing them with open kitchens. It was then discovered that the developer had submitted to the Buildings Department for approval plans showing the flats with enclosed kitchens.

The discrepancy led to accusations that the developer had sought to dodge rules on fire safety for open kitchens, for which a special application is required. It also emerged that it had asked buyers to agree to have the enclosed kitchens rebuilt as open ones and to bear the costs of the alterations.

The Estate Agents Authority said three of the five complaints it received from Icon buyers had been withdrawn.

It is investigating whether Centaline supplied inaccurate and misleading information to flat buyers.