By Benjamin B. Pulta
06/16/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]
Real estate developer Nuvoland Philippines Inc. (NPI) dismissed as nothing but harassment a suit initiated by a client out to get the company to refund all payments for a real estate deal.
“It is lamentable that legitimate real estate companies are being shaken by individuals who use legal loopholes and media coverage to force us to bow to submission,” Nuvoland’s president Rally Martinez said in a statement in view of the cases of estafa and violation of subdivision code filed by businesswoman Maria Isabel Bautista against them at the Taguig Prosecutor’s Office despite an ongoing HLURB hearing on the case for the second time.
“Nuvoland has always prided itself to be a fair and the law-abiding real estate company in the country. In fact, we have tried on several occasions to come up with a win-win solution with Ms. Bautista, but the complainant’s representatives have always rejected our actions. Her decision to file a complaint against us is brought about by the fact that we refused to allow her to convert one of the four offices she acquired from us into a recruitment office,” Martinez stressed.
“Our decision to reject her request is well within the bounds of reason, and legality, as Ms. Bautista was informed by our staff about the restrictions as stated in the HLURB-approved master deed of restrictions for the Infinity (the development in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig where complainant’s four office units are supposed to be located) on Dec. 11, 2007,” NPI pointed out.
This is almost two months before the complainant signed four contracts to sell with NPI. The contract is worth P41 million at the time. The restrictions stated in the master guidelines include conversion of the offices in the Infinity into business processing outsource centers, employment bureau or placement agencies, embassy or consular offices, clinics, showrooms and offices from other real estate competitors, machines shops or other industrial centers, warehouses and storage and any establishments immoral in nature.
NPI said this prohibition was placed due to the prevailing maximum density requirement of eight square-meter-per person of the Infinity which is designed to provide tenants and owners the maximum privacy and security.
Bautista, the real estate firm claimed, submitted a letter of intent on Jan. 22, 2008 asking permission from NPI to convert one of the office spaces into a recruitment agency.
The real estate firm, in a letter dated June 16, 2008, said Bautista was bound by the master guidelines expressly prohibiting such conversion and the eight-square-meter per person rule.
Bautista appealed this decision by sending a letter of consideration on July 14, 2008 which NPI management again denied on its Aug. 27, 2008, citing strict adherence must be made on the master guideline rules.
“Regretfully, your proposed use of the office units was denied. Conclusively, we solicit your full understanding that we remain firm with our position as stated in our letter to you, dated June 16, 2008,” NPI letter’s to Bautista further read.
On Sept. 8, 2008, Bautista stopped paying for all four offices, citing NPI’s refusal to allow the former to convert one of the four units into a recruitment office, despite a legally binding and valid contract to sell.
And on Nov. 13, 2008, the legal camp of the complainant, while asking for the termination of Bautista’s contract with NPI for the four office units, accused the entire management of misrepresentation for refusing to allow their client to transform of the offices as recruitment firm.