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Real estate firm ordered to pay QC gov’t P7 million

By Arlie O. Calalo
02/16/2012 [ ]

A known real estate developer has been ordered by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to pay the Quezon City government P7 million in tax obligations and comply with all the demands sought by a group of condominium unit owners who filed the case against the former.

The New San Jose Builders Inc. (NSJBI), according to the seven-page decision dated Jan. 27 and penned by Housing and Land Use Arbiter Joselito Melchor, has the sole obligation to pay the real estate taxes to the city government since it remains to be the owner of the condominium project located in Barangay San Martin de Porres in Cubao.

Meanwhile, the unit owners belonging to the Theresa Tower Condominium Association Inc. (TTCAI) led by its president Emmanuel Lintag and represented by lawyer Joel Pradia, who also happens to be one of them, hailed the expeditious ruling by the HLURB which turned to be favorable to their group.

According to Lintag and Pradia, they filed the case against the company after they discovered that it has not been paying real estate taxes to the QC government since 2006 up to the present compounded by the fact that the titles to the common areas have not been delivered to the condominium association up to the present.

Pradia and Lintag said the obligation to pay the real estate taxes remains with the developer on account of incomplete turnover of the property and incomplete development of the same, a claim that was upheld by HLURB.

“The New San Jose Builders Inc., a known developer in the real estate business, ought to know this obligation more than its innocent buyers. Its failure to deliver titles to the common areas whether consciously made or not cannot be countenanced by this office considering the immeasurable adverse effects to the complainants, if any,” the decision said.

The unit owners in their complaint said the developer had deceived the HLURB into issuing a Certificate of Completion by making it appear that all units in the project were sold out.

Backing up their claims, the HLURB revoked it (certificate of completion) as it ordered the New San Jose Builders to continue to maintain the project until its completion is certified by the agency and deliver to the TTCAI the titles of the common areas of the subject property.

The HLURB has also ordered the NSJBI to reimburse to TTCAI the amount of P1,098,600 representing the expenses for the restoration of an elevator at the condominium and to repair the other non-working elevators.

Moreover, the developer was ordered to secure property insurance on the condominium and repair its exterior such as repainting of the walls, leaking roofs and sanitary pipes, among other things.

Prior to the filing of the case, Lintag and Pradia said they had sent demand letters for the NSJBI to comply with its obligation as developer but “they just fell on deaf ears.”

“Thus, the complainants were left with no other recourse but to file the case for the protection and vindication of their rights,” the association members said.

Pradia, who ironically has clients who have similar problems with their developers, said they came out in the open not only to get what is due them but as their moral obligation that is to make the buying public fully aware about the developer’s alleged fraudulent manipulations.

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