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Many concerns remain, flats will be completed this year: HDC’s MD Suhail

19 January 2021, MVT 19:46
Suhail Ahmed, MD of HDC, speak at press conference. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU
19 January 2021, MVT 19:46

Hulhumale Development Corporation (HDC)’s Managing Director Suhail Ahmed, on Monday, made a statement acknowledging the inconveniences caused by continual delays in several housing projects, particularly with regards to luxury apartment complexes, that were expected to be completed earlier.

Following a report published by local news Mihaaru, which discussed numerous complaints about significant loan repayments adding to the financial burdens of leaseholders who are yet to acquire their "guaranteed" property, Suhail made an appearance via state-owned Public Service Media (PSM), on the channel’s ‘Raajje Miadhu’ (Maldives Today) programme, in which he responded to the criticism.

“In truth, [the buildings] are not finished within the given period. As a result, those who have purchased apartments have some serious concerns”, said Suhail.

According to Suhail, construction work for five such projects was ongoing, without pause.

However, HDC’s MD did not disclose the names of the buildings or complexes he implied in his earlier statement.

Notable projects facing intermittent delays

- Aira by Ensis Fisheries Pvt Ltd: Handed over for development in 2016

- Fitron by Muni Home (MUNI Enterprises Pvt Ltd): Handed over for development in 2016

- The Gardens by JAAH Investments Pvt Ltd (formerly JAUSA Investments Pvt Ltd): Handed over for development in 2017

- K-Park by Kordhi Investment Pvt Ltd : Handed over for development in 2017

- FW Residence by FW Construction Company Pvt Ltd: Handed over for development in 2017

'Will reach completion in 2021'

Aerial view of the housing solutions built in Hulhumale'. PHOTO: HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LTD

In answer to the mounting concerns, Suhail further revealed having received information that all the ongoing projects would be completed within the year.

“I was updated with information confirming that the projects currently under construction will also reach completion this year”, he said.

During both PSM’s and Mihaaru’s interviews, Suhair stated that, although projects were allotted for completion during a two year period, work typically spans over three years, on average.

He also confirmed that there were a number of projects that were still yet to enter a construction phase.

Meanwhile, there are a number of such projects that successfully reached their finish line, including two projects by Rainbow Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Damas’ One Avenue and another by Apollo Holdings Pvt Ltd - where people have already taken up residence.

Out of the housing scheme projects recently awarded to various private companies, Ithaa Mui (Pearl) by Renaatus Projects Pvt Ltd was the first to conclude in 2020. Shortly after, Marina View by Batch Construction Pot Ltd also opened its doors to residents.

The projects that remain incomplete, however, include those that have faced postponements for over 4 years and as such, cannot be attributed to repercussions brought on by the ongoing global COVID19 pandemic, which has itself caused a number of delays in numerous undertakings across industry.

Nevertheless, many companies, including those tasked with the aforementioned severely delayed projects, have taken to touting ‘COVID19 effects’ as an explanation for any intervals post-2019.

In terms of progress, however, FW Residence and Fitron by Muni Home appear to be nearing the end of construction activity.

Speaking to Mihaaru News, an official source from Muni Home declared that the apartments would be ready to let out after approximately two months, citing shipping issues due to lockdowns enacted over the pandemic to explain the delay.

“Difficulties arose in procuring the final shipments needed for finishing work. If that had not occurred, we would have already handed over the building by now”, said the source.

Major losses borne by property buyers

Many buyers have reported additional economic hardship thanks to monthly rent payments as they wait to receive apartments already purchased - all while facing possible terminations and businesses losses brought on by the health crisis.

“I spent all my life’s savings to purchase [my] apartment. When I paid, I inquired whether I’d receive it by then [the period specified by the developer]. At the time, I was given certain assurances that it would be complete”, said a single mother of two, who wishes to remain anonymous over fears of incurring ire from developers, due to her field of work.

Another private citizen, however, insisted that though unfortunate, a portion of the responsibility fell to the purchaser as well.

“Look, we pay up to [MVR] 0.5 to [MVR] 1 million in down payments. Then we seek loan payments of [MVR] 2 million, [MVR] 3 million or even [MVR] 4 million. That all goes to the developer”, said the source, also electing for anonymity.

“I wouldn’t say that they [developers] haven’t spent any or all of it. However, there are inconsistencies [in their actions and words]”.

The source stressed, “There have been attempts to manipulate the truth, to shirk responsibility, and the matter of having no governing authority to look into such issues”.

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