'Rubbish dump' flat buyer issues writ

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 January, 2012, 12:00am


A buyer is suing the developer of The Icon, a luxury residential tower in Mid-Levels, for the HK$9.8 million it paid for a 'rubbish dump' flat.

The 17-storey building at 38 Conduit Road attracted controversy as soon as buyers took possession of their flats last year.

They complained about unfinished flooring and heaps of construction debris, saying the flats were like 'rubbish dumps'.

They also complained about the tiny enclosed kitchens, despite floor plans indicating the kitchens would be of open design.

They eventually received buy-back offers, while a handful of others accepted cash compensation, and the matter appeared resolved.

But one buyer, Joytex Development, has gone to court, demanding its purchase agreement be rescinded, and compensation paid for interest incurred under the mortgage, management fees and the loss of an investment opportunity.

According to a writ filed in the Court of First Instance, Joytex bought the unit for HK$9.8 million when it entered into a provisional sales agreement with the developer, Super Homes, in June 2009.

Cheung Keng-ching, who represented Joytex during the flat sales, said it was understood the flat would have an open kitchen because a Centaline Property agent took him to a showroom with an open kitchen.

He says the agent also told him the developer would deliver the property with an open kitchen as shown in the sales brochure.

But the buyer was informed by the agent, after the occupation permit was issued in November 2009, that the open kitchen could not be completed in time.

Cheung was told Super Homes would offer him HK$148,000 for installing the fittings and finishes for the open kitchen. Cheung said he was told by the developer an open kitchen would comply with regulations, including building rules and fire safety rules. He was informed Super Homes had obtained, or had intended to obtain, approval from government departments.

The buyer completed the purchase agreement in December and accepted the developer's money in January last year. It was not until later that Joytex found the developer had not obtained approvals and the open kitchen layout would breach building regulations.

The buyer said the property was bought for purposes of speculation and intended to resell it shortly after it was completed.

Apart from the legal costs and stamp duty incurred in the purchase of the flat, the developer has also asked for compensation for the interest incurred under the flat mortgage of more than HK$5.8 million, a management fee deposit and 11 payments of the monthly management fee.

In return, Joytex will return the sum of money given for finishing the open kitchen layout.

Most of the other buyers have accepted a buy-back offer from Super Homes, getting back 20 per cent more than they paid.