Woman Who Bought Forest City Unit In JB Now In Legal Battle Against Developers
Having a second apartment overseas may sound like a good idea when you can afford it. But when developers don’t deliver as promised, it could bring unnecessary trouble.
Yang Ting Ting (transliterated from Mandarin), a woman in China, bought a so-called luxury sea view apartment under the Forest City Project in Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia, several years ago.
However, she realised that the apartment fell short of her expectations when she went to inspect the unit before the official handover.
She wanted to opt out of the project at the point, but it was too late. The project eventually became abandoned, turning into a ghost town with many unoccupied lots and unkempt surroundings.
Despite this, she had to pay her mortgage for five years before eventually planning to protest against the developers for deceiving her.
Developers allegedly promised buyers multiple benefits but failed to deliver
According to Hong Kong news portal HK01, Ms Yang purchased the flat in 2015 while on a trip to Malaysia.
Chinese developers promised a slew of benefits, such as the Belt and Road initiative (which Malaysia was a part of), high-speed rail service to Singapore, an “unbeatable sea view”, and an “overseas Chinese student policy”, which would ease the admission of owners’ children into prestigious local educational institutions.
She thus agreed to purchase a 648 sq ft apartment for around S$350,300 (1.8 million yuan) with a 10-year monthly instalment plan.
However, HK01 reports that the developers failed to deliver all of their promises.
During the pre-handover inspection of the flat, Ms Yang realised that the so-called “majestic sea view” was an overstatement as she could barely catch a glimpse of the sea from her unit.
She also discovered that the unit was part of a commercial condominium. Other promised benefits, like a duty-free island and a separate customs territory, were nowhere to be seen.
Feeling deeply dissatisfied, she tried getting a refund on her flat on the grounds that the developers had changed the residential title of the building to commercial without consent.
Sadly, she claimed that she was given cold and passive responses. She later found out that other buyers across China were also in the same predicament, as 90% of the buyers were Chinese nationals.
Difficult for buyers to defend their rights
According to HK01, it was challenging for Ms Yang to defend her rights over the property due to the difficulty of applying for a visa and flying to Malaysia due to lockdown rules in China.
At their wit’s end, Ms Yang and fellow victims lodged police reports in China and sent complaints to various Chinese authorities, including those in Sichuan and Beijing.
However, they faced continuous rejection as most authorities could not intervene since the property was overseas.
Ms Yang also told HK01 that she intends to take legal action against the developers. She is in the midst of comprehensive preparation to file a lawsuit against the developers.
Forest City is now a ghost town
To make matters worse, the Forest City project was apparently abandoned.
According to Chinese netizens, only a ‘ghost town’ remains of the development, a far cry from the grandiose plans first proposed.
The development was intended to house around 700,000 people. However, as of 202o, less than 500 people lived within the development.
Multiple creators on social media platform Xiaohongshu shared videos of their visits to the project, showing its desolate state.
Malaysian news outlet MalaysiaNow also captured photos of under-utilised facilities and empty attractions.
According to HK01, the developers did not respond to any of the allegations. They also insisted that only a handful of buyers expressed dissatisfaction with their purchases.
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Featured image adapted from MalaysiaNow.
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