Foreigners air complaints against developer over problems with condo

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Sunday, October 2, 2011


A GROUP of foreigners are complaining against a condominium developer for allegedly failing to deliver on what was promised to them.

Robert and Ellen Foulds, an Australian couple, filed a complaint with the Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board (HLURB) accusing Syntech Properties, developers of Citylights Garden condominiums, of using substandard materials and building a poor quality condominium.

While they stood as formal complainants, the Foulds couple aired their complaints with three other unit owners, also foreigners, to Sun.Star Cebu. They requested, however, that their names be withheld.

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Ellen Foulds, who is originally from Cebu, said she they felt frustrated because nobody from Syntech would face them if they wanted to lodge a complaint about their unit.

Clogged

She said her unit has clogged drains and that their kitchen gives off a nasty smell because the grease trap was not sealed. She said that every time she uses the washing machine, her bathroom gets flooded.

Syntech legal officer Jhay-R Alao told Sun.Star Cebu that any complaints that residents had should be brought up with the property management team, as they have already turned it over to them. Alao said they did not want to bypass the property management office.

Property manager Engr. Ryan Pescante, for his part, said they can only respond to an official complaint once they receive it.

However, he believes their complaints should have been handled internally, saying that as unit owners, they could always raise these matters with their board of directors, rather than drag their issues to the public.

Assurance

He assured that any petitions filed against them will be addressed. He also admitted he was surprised that the property management office was included in the complaint.

Ellen said she and her husband, a retiree, decided to stay in Cebu, thinking they
could spend their lives and plan to have a child if they lived in a peaceful community.

They spent P9.1 million for a three-bedroom unit in Tower 3 of the property.
Another couple alleged that their tiles were attached using epoxy, instead of a proper tile adhesive.

They also complained that the fire escape is not safe as the door opens into the stairway while cracks on the building’s façade reportedly allow rain to seep through the walls.

Foulds said almost all unit owners have complaints but were hesitant to bring it out in public for fear that the reports would bring down the value of their investments.

Aside from the issues in their unit, the couple said incessant banging from ongoing
renovations are too much and that these renovations have been ongoing since last year.

A neighbor of the couple said he could not hear his own television because of the noise. Aside from that, he said karaoke and disco music from the villages outside blare all the way to the top floors, adding to the noise problems. He said it was too much if the noise went on all the way until 6 a.m.

Spending

He said he tried several times to complain but his gripes fell on deaf ears.

“On average, retirees spend $40,000 a year. The Philippine Retirement Authority keeps promoting the Philippines as a retirement destination. But with all these problems, foreigners will leave,” he said.

He added that aside from the lost income, friends of those who have had bad experiences will also learn about it and change their minds about retiring in Cebu.

He warned that if decent tourists like him leave the country, all the Philippines will have left are those tourists who are looking for sex, referring to a quote by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, who said 40 percent of male tourists in the country were looking for sex.

For the Foulds, they are putting their plans to have a child on hold. They want their money back for the condominium they bought and plan to return to Australia instead.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 03, 2011.

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