Not willing to take the ownership of a house in poor condition

Many of you might be facing or have ever faced the situation of finding out that the right house you intend to purchase is in a bad condition -- cracks and leaks in walls, peeling paint, or other house interior damages in the time that the house ownership is going to be transferred very soon. This might make you want to change your mind not to take the ownership of the house nor meeting the house seller for the house ownership transfer as appointed.

Therefore, how could we, as a buyer, handle with this kind of situation? If the terms of contract between the buyer and the seller set forth the condition that “if the buyer misses the appointment as written in the contract, this is considered as a breach of contract, accordingly, the seller can keep all the up-front fee”, please do not be panic and follow these steps:

1.  When you notice any defects in the house you intend to purchase, record and take pictures of them as the evidence so that the seller or his/her attorney representative can sign in that record.

2. It is necessary to set the deadline when the housing defects should be all repaired.

3. When the day of the appointment for the house ownership transfer arrives, the buyer should bring the record and photos, and present them to the authorized land officer at Land registry office nearby. The reason is that the officer can acknowledge this matter and records that the buyer comes to the appointment, but refuses to sign for Juristic Act registration since the housing defect is not yet repaired within the designated time.

4. When the deadline day arrives, but the house is not yet fixed, it is recommended that the buyer should cancel the contract with the seller directly since he/she commits the breach of contract.

5. When cancelling the contract, the buyer has a right to claim all the up-front fee and interest from the seller.

6.  If the seller puts up a defense claiming he/she does not commit the breach of contract, it is advisable for the buyer to file a lawsuit. You can sue the seller for liability for defect within one year from the first day you discover the defects (according to the Civil and Commercial Code section 474, “No action for liability for defect can be entered later than one year after the discovery of the defect”)

Consequently, if you encounter the same problem, you have a right to file a complaint at Office of The Consumer Protection Board (OCPB), and inform public authority, for instance, Sub district Administration of Organization (S.A.O) nearby or professional engineer from the Engineering Institute of Thailand Under H.M the King Patronage (EIT) to do the inspection.

Remember, the most important thing is to carefully inspect the house and record any defects in the house you discover as the evidence. Moreover, do not unnecessarily rush into making decision of not going to the ownership transfer rendezvous. Lastly, make sure you carefully read the terms of contract so that you will not be the one who commits the breach of contract.

Credit: Kon Sue Baan-Condo Book and Website Home2nd  

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