EVER since the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (Act 118), subsequently renamed the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act, came into force some five decades ago, we have been focusing on building houses for sale.

The peculiar thing about our housing industry, as sanctioned by Act 118, is that housing developers (with the exception of a few) do not have ready-built houses for sale when the standard sale and purchase agreement (SPA) is signed. What they actually sell is a “dream” that the house will be ready and fit for occupation within a stipulated time as stated in the SPA (24 months for landed properties and 36 months for bungalows).

Experience tells us that some of these proudly-purchased “dream homes” have turned out to be endless nightmares for unlucky buyers. On Dec 8, the official portal of Selangor Rehda (Real Estate and Housing Developers Association) stated that the government needed “134 white knights” to revive 134 abandoned housing projects in the country.

Despite strenuous efforts by the National House Buyers Association (HBA) to have the industry “transformed” to be more pro-buyers, the old (pro-developers) status quo remains. Despite earlier promises by the authorities to implement the Build Then Sell (BTS) concept, what we have today is a watered-down system known as the 10:90 formula.

Over the last few years, the majority of houses offered for sale are no longer affordable. They are no longer “mampu milik” (affordable to be owned), but merely “mampu tengok” (affordable only to be gazed upon).

The expression was first coined in Johor Baru where houses were built by “foreign-controlled” developers, because the prices were astronomical and could only be afforded by “foreign” buyers across the Johor Causeway and other countries. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world where foreigners can buy landed properties.

In recent months, I have been studying the provisions of the Rental Housing Act 1999 of South Africa (RHA) and wondered whether it would be worth implementing here.

NST: http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/12/198704/need-promote-rental-housing-law