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Megaworld sued for changing Corinthian Hills plan

Vol. XXII, No. 148 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Friday, February 27, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


A HOMEOWNER of a subdivision developed by Megaworld Corp. has sued the property company for allegedly altering the design of the subdivision without their consent.

In a 13-page complaint filed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), First GCU Resources and Development Corp. accused Megaworld of failing to build the facilities it had promised by selling the lots intended for these.

The company was a lot buyer at Corinthian Hills Subdivision in Quezon City and is a member of the village’s homeowners’ association.

First GCU said the Quezon City government had issued a development permit in 1998 allowing Megaworld to develop 201 lots — divided into 169 residential and 32 commercial properties.

"With evident bad faith, Megaworld applied and was granted by the HLURB a license to sell 172 lots instead [of] 169 residential lots," the complainant said.

The developer, however, did not apply for a license to sell the 32 commercial lots. The local government approved the subdivision plan, leaving lots 18 to 20 for open space.

It said Megaworld had advertised lots 18 to 20 covering 1,035 square meters, as having been reserved for recreational purposes.

"However, a physical count of the subdivision lots showed that there were 204 lots in the subdivision. Considering that the subdivision plan provides for 201 saleable lots, it necessarily follows that the excess three lots were the ones allocated for open space," it said.

But Megaworld allegedly sold lots 18 and 19 without the homeowners’ consent and without prior approval by the local government. It only kept the third lot covering 345 square meters.

Megaworld officials were unavailable for comment.

"The lot is too small to build recreational facilities... as promised by Megaworld. We demand that the lots be replaced," Guillermo C. Uy, Jr., who represents the complainant, said in a phone interview.

He added that despite repeated follow-ups, Megaworld had ignored the proposal, prompting him to sue the firm. Mr. Uy also said he would file criminal charges against Megaworld officials at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.

In his suit, Mr. Guillermo said the sale of the two lots violated Presidential Decree 957, which limits properties to be sold in a mid-cost subdivision to 70% of the total gross area for a one-hectare project.

By selling both lots, Megaworld effectively exceeded the limit by four percentage points.

The homeowner also accused Megaworld of selling without the consent of homeowners and the HLURB a lot originally reserved for utility purposes.

"The site where the present clubhouse is located is a saleable lot and not within lots intended for community facilities," First GCU said.

It also said Megaworld had built a pump, transformer and generation set room in one of the lots originally intended for parks, playgrounds and recreational activities.

"The attraction of Corinthian Hills is the 1,800-square meter landscaped area where residents can jog... The representation and promises of Megaworld to the buyers remain unfulfilled," it added.

Mr. Guillermo told BusinessWorld there are still six unsold lots in the subdivision. — Kristine Jane R. Liu

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