HK$8m 'sea view' flat too low, says buyer
Two homebuyers complained to the Consumer Council yesterday about being misled into buying expensive homes in Cheung Kong (Holdings)' exclusive Oceanaire development in Ma On Shan.
They said key features they were expecting after reading the sales brochure did not exist.
One middle-aged man, who gave his name as Peter, paid HK$1 million extra to have a sea view from his flat, only to find the 'podium floor' flat was too low for such a view.
Peter said he paid more than HK$8 million for a 1,100 square foot flat on the podium floor. The block faces the sea at Sha Tin Hoi, but he cannot gaze out at the water because his ground-floor flat is too low.
'Without the sea view, the flat is not worth HK$8 million,' he said.
In September 2010, he spent half a day reading sales brochures and looking at a model before deciding he would buy the flat. The podium level appeared to be elevated and the flat was surrounded by greenery.
When the flat was finished in November, he found it to be very different: the flat was right next to a road. He is demanding that Cheung Kong compensate him for the lack of a sea view or buy the flat back.
Another man, who gave his name as John, paid HK$7 million for a similar-sized flat with an even bigger garden, expecting a wall high enough to give him privacy. But the wall, between his garden and a pavement, is lower than the average person's height and has holes that people can see through.
Now the apartment has no privacy or security, because anyone could climb over the fence into his garden, he said. 'Cheung Kong bears the responsibility of remedying the situation,' he said. 'It is inexcusable.'
Cheung Kong's executive director, Justin Chiu Kwok-hung, said the buyers were to blame for their 'negligence', because they should have read the sales brochure carefully.
Green Sense's Roy Tam Hoi-pong, who is helping the two men, said the government should plug loopholes in its technical circular governing the numbering of floors in estates. A forthcoming new law require developers to spell out in brochures the distance between the ground and the lowest residential floor of a block.
Another Oceanaire buyer complained to the media yesterday that the balconies on the flats were too close to each other, making it easy for people to take things from their neighbours' terrace.