How OTP estate agents see their responsibilities after the signed contract?

How OTP estate agents see their responsibilities after the signed contract?
How OTP estate agents see their responsibilities after the signed contract?

Do off the plan apartment marketing agents have any responsibilities after the signed contract? And how accountable do they see themselves when things go awfully wrong?

I was wondering what role the selling agents at the potentially still toxic Erskineville projects, the 109 Sugarcane apartments and the 18 Honeycomb terraces felt that they had three or four years after they secured the sale for the Chinese developer Golden Rain Developments.

It was front page news in Sydney on Friday, followed by extensive website coverage throughout the morning and then on the Friday night television news.

The poor OTP buyers are in limbo, locked out of the completed residences after a dispute between developer and Sydney City Council over the potential toxicity of the former industrial site. The issue appears to be related to contaminated water run off, especially to and from the public land, rather than the earlier feared gas vapour issues in the car park basement.

The developer engaged Ray White Projects and Colliers International to sell their project quite a few years ago. It was a sellout.

The earliest Colliers marketing advised an anticipated early 2017 completion, then it was subsequently advised as April 2018.

Some 15 months further along, not one intending owner occupier resident has moved in, nor investor able to rent the residence out.

This extended period of limbo sees their deposits sitting there, awaiting final settlements, with their lenders no doubt cautiously wondering what impact the toxin turmoil, even satisfactorily resolved, ought have on their valuations.

The strata plan awaits registration.

A truly dreadful situation for every buyer.

Ray White Erskineville Projects advised they had marketed the 18 off the plan terraces in Honeycomb development in good faith as per the vendor’s instructions.

"When Ray White Erskineville Projects became aware that technical compliance issues had arisen between council and the developer over occupancy, we communicated to all purchasers any information that had been provided to us," it said in a statement issued within 90 minutes of the request.

"Ray White Erskineville Projects empathises with the challenges this situation presents to both the developer and the purchasers of these properties and is keen to see the resolution of any outstanding matters so the properties are able to settle," Ray White advised.

Colliers, headed by Peter Chittenden, took another course altogether.

"As Colliers were engaged as project marketing agents for this development, all enquiries should be referred to Golden Rain Development," it advised News Ltd's Daily Telegraph much later in the day.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Colliers directed inquiries to Ray White.

It was March 2015 when Colliers kicked off the marketing in Domain with studio prices from $550,000, and the advisory that the projects were due for completion early 2017.

In August 2015 Domain updated readers in an article on pet friendly projects with the same early 2017 completion date advisory, and Colliers pricing for the one-beds from $645,000, two-beds from $870,000 that remained for sale off the plan.

Chittenden's linked-in ranks Sugarcube among his "successful projects."

Golden Rain Development has completed 30 projects across Asia with the Erskineville development promoted as its “flagship project” in Sydney. They boasted the residences are amongst the most desirable ever to grace Erskineville's leafy village streets.

Golden Rain Development sent a letter to buyers in April this year, acknowledging delays in the issuing of an occupation certificate.

"An unforseen planning issue is at the heart of the delay," said the letter.

It didn't mention the toxicity issues. Owners described it as "unbelievable" and "shocking" to learn of the contamination issue in the SMH, after desperately pressing for answers for over a year.

One buyer told the SMH they had left "countless messages" with Colliers.

"When I purchased they were saying this was a fantastic developer and well renowned. It's just a horrible scenario to be in."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Peter Chittenden Erskineville

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