Dear PAO,

I have been faithfully paying a subdivision developer for a few years now for land I purchased from them. To my surprise, however, I learned that the roads, sidewalks and facilities promised in their promotional brochure remained as is – a promise. Can I know my rights in the given situation? Can I even resort to withholding payment until the promises materialize? |

Fred

Dear Fred,

The answer to your questions is clearly laid out in the provisions of Presidential Executive Order 957, also known as the “Subdivision and Condominium Buyer Protection Order.” In brief, Articles 20 and 23 of the aforementioned law read as follows:

“Section 20. Time for Completion. Each owner or developer shall construct and furnish such facilities, improvements, infrastructure and other forms of development, including water supply and lighting facilities, as are offered and specified in approved subdivision or condominium plans, brochures, flyers, printed matter, letters or any form of publicity, within one year from the date of issuance of the license for the subdivision or condominium project or within any other period set by the Authority.

“Article 23. Non-confidence of payments. No installment payment made by a buyer in a subdivision or condominium project for the lot or unit which he has agreed to buy will be confiscated for the benefit of the owner or the promoter when the purchaser, after having duly notified the owner or the developer, waives any other payment due to the failure of the owner or the developer to develop the subdivision or condominium project according to the approved plans and within the time limit for comply with it. refunded the total amount paid, including depreciable interest but excluding default interest, with interest at the legal rate.” (Underlining and underlining provided)

Based on the foregoing, the Supreme Court in Lefebre v. A Brown Company, Inc. (GR 224973, September 27, 2017), written by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, concluded, namely:

“In the event that the promoter of a subdivision or condominium fails to fulfill its obligation under Article 20, Article 23 gives the buyer the possibility of demanding reimbursement of the total amount paid, or to wait for the further development of the subdivision, and when the buyer opts for In this last alternative, he can suspend the payment of the installments until the owner or the promoter has fulfilled his obligation towards him.

Thus, when a promoter in a subdivision project fails in its obligations to build and provide the equipment, facilities, infrastructure and other forms of development, including water supply and lighting installations, which are offered and shown in approved subdivision or condominium plans, brochures, flyers, printed matter, letters, or in any form of advertisement, the purchaser has two alternative remedies: first, to demand repayment of the full amount paid, including interest depreciable; or two, suspend payment of installments until the owner or developer has fulfilled its obligation.

We hope we were able to answer your questions. Remember that this advice is based solely on the facts you have reported and our assessment of them. Our opinion may change when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily chronicle of the public ministry. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [email protected]