Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Foundation accuses property sellers of misleading public

SURFACE AREAThe Consumers’ Foundation panned construction companies’ practice of including common areas to inflate a property’s size

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Consumers’ Foundation (消基會) yesterday lashed out at real estate brokers and construction companies for inflating the surface area of a property during the selling process and urged authorities to step up inspection efforts.

Foundation chairman Hsieh Tien-jen (謝天仁) told a press conference that the conflicting standards used by different government agencies in calculating the surface area of a property — such as an apartment or an office — had resulted in authorities turning a blind eye to construction companies and real estate brokers’ practice of inflating the figures.

Hsieh said the surface area should be calculated according to the size of the area contained inside the outer walls — instead of starting at the middle point of the outer walls as stipulated by the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency, or the outmost border of the outer walls as stipulated by the ministry’s Department of Land Administration.

Other tricks property sellers often use to fool home buyers include counting the area taken up by pillars, rain shutters, balconies, emergency escapes and ladders, parking spaces, power and other utility installations, the foundation said.

After accounting for all the inflated figures, which can take up as much as 50 percent of the final surface area disclosed to the home buyer, “when consumers pay for one ping [3.3m²], they are only getting half a ping’s worth,” Hsieh said.

He criticized the ministry for ignoring the situation, even though it was censured by the Control Yuan on Sept. 3 for failing to promptly revise building registration regulations.

He said that while government officials are seeking ways to control surging property prices, they should first put an end to the double standards so that consumers would not be fooled into buying homes with inflated figures.

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