News: Damage To Property Due To Prolonged Renovations – Residents Seek Answers

Feb 20, 2020

Kuala Lumpur residents are seeking answers concerning their rights when prolonged house renovations of neighbours start affecting both their lives and property.

At present, there are no existing rules in Kuala Lumpur as to the time limit of renovations, prompting residents to ask as to whether one can be imposed to ensure that such renovations will not be prolonged.

Usually, homeowners renovating their property move out until it is completed. Thus, no sympathy is being extended to the plight of neighbours who usually bear with the loud noises from hacking and drilling hacking works, reported The Star.

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For instance, two families related their experience as to how their neighbour’s renovation works brought much damage to their homes as well as their peace of mind.

One of them was Shirley (not her real name) and the incident happened in her double-storey terrace home in Kuala Lumpur last year during a thunderstorm at past midnight.

Her grandson woke up to go to the bathroom when a huge part of the asbestos ceiling crashed down on his bed, a few seconds after he got up.

Rainwater soaked the mattress and the carpeted floor, then continued flowing downstairs, flooding the hallway and damaging the furniture. Hence, electricity was also cut off.

Aside from this, water would drip down the walls, flooding the entire room every time it rains. Consequently, hairline cracks appeared on some walls where rainwater would seep through, resulting to mould appearing on the surface of the walls.

Shirley blames this ordeal on the massive renovation of her neighbour’s house, which is located on an intermediate lot.

“As the work drags on, the damage to my house is getting worse,’’ she said.

Due to the constant drilling and hacking, Shirley and her family also stays away from the house and would return in the evenings to sleep. But sometimes, her elderly husband stays back to check on things.

“My family’s safety is threatened, and I have had enough,” added Shirley.

Meanwhile, Betty, (also not her real name), the other next-door neighbour of the home under renovation, also complained that because of various infringements made by the neighbour’s contractor, the owner was ordered by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to demolish the illegal structures, which resulted to more hacking and drilling.

“I have been putting up with the drilling and hacking sounds for over a year, but I don’t think I can take it any longer,” said Betty.

Apart from the drilling, Betty’s car, living room, walk-in closet, bathrooms, and balconies “are riddled with cracks, and there is dust and cement debris everywhere”.

Such complaints have already been relayed to DBKL which led the city hall to order for the inspection of the site last year and issue a stop-work order under Section 70 of the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1970.

“There were multiple infringements, including deviating from the approved plans,” said a senior officer from DBKL.

The Principal Submitting Person and the owner also failed to supervise the renovation works and make sure that the contractor adhere to the approved plan.

Consequently, the works carried out were unsafe and unclean, with little regard to maintain its duty and care to the public.

A DBKL notice dated 1 November 2019 has been pasted at the house informing the public that the stop-work order was lifted, allowing for work to continue according to fresh plans submitted by the owner to DBKL.

Due to the absence of existing rules, it is unfortunate that the authorities could do nothing to safeguard the interest of families affected by renovations.

 

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Nicholas Kong
Real Estate Negotiator
Dutama Properties
nick8089333@gmail.com
(+60) 12-8089333