There are few moments in life as exciting as taking possession of your new home.
But before you print out the invitations and launch your epic house warming party, there are a few more mundane tasks that are important for you to consider.
Let’s face it – buying a house is a big investment (like the down payment!). And like any big investment, you want to make sure what you’re paying for is exactly what you get.
Here’s where our essential guide to vacant possession comes in.
Understanding What’s A ‘Notice Of Vacant Possession’
Receiving a Notice of Vacant Possession (VP) from your developer is an exciting part of your property journey.
With all the hassle of endless financial documents, the joy and heartbreak of house hunting, as well as the potential wait for a property to be completed, you’re finally ready to take ownership of your home.
This notice is basically a formal announcement that your property is now ready to be officially handed to you!
Once that date is reached, you should receive the relevant notice, and the delight of a new property is yours. That also means a very important clock has started ticking – the defect liability period.
The Defect Liability Period
In the SPA you signed at the start of your journey, there will be a clause about what’s known as the defect liability period.
That’s basically the timeframe you have to find any problems with your new property and report it to the developer for them to repair.
That countdown starts at the point you receive your Notice of Vacant Possession, so there’s no time to waste! The defect liability period is usually around 12-24 months.
That’s 12-24 months to find out (sometimes weird) issues such as your door frame is wonky, your sink is plumbed into your toilet, and your air conditioning unit is blowing backwards.
In reality, there’s unlikely to be anything as serious as this with your home, but it’s important to carry out appropriate checks to find any faults.
That’s because during this period is where the developer’s liable for rectifying these mistakes. If you notice anything outside this period, it’s up to you to get them fixed.
Importance Of Certificate Of Completion And Compliance
It’s released by your local council, backed by a member of the Malaysian Board of Architects, that essentially says your house is fit to move into.
The CCC is an official agreement that the property is safe and habitable, and won’t spontaneously explode one night because it’s been poorly constructed.
So, as you might guess, this is rather an important document. Make sure you get your CCC from your developer!
Difference Between Certificate Of Completion And Compliance (CCC) Vs Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO)
The Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) was what came before the CCC, and while it was similar in its role to ensure that buildings were developed safely and according to specifications, the most notable difference was that the CFO required the local government authority to visit the site and provide the necessary approvals.
Now, this provided quite a number of issues, namely a backlog of projects requiring approvals due to the limited availability of resources thus delaying the entire process, as well as the possibility of inaccuracies as it wasn’t carried out by industry professionals with specific knowledge of the project’s respective elements.
7 Steps In Inspecting For Defects
The defect liability period might seem like a long time, but it’s important to identify and notify the developer of defects as soon as you possibly can.
They’re unlikely to agree to repair a scratch on your door frame after your huge house-warming party after all!
And more importantly, if you undertake renovations yourself, it’s possible the developer could argue that you’re responsible for any damage you report.
The sooner you check before you make any modifications yourself, the easier it’s fixed.
Often an inspection will be undertaken with a representative of the developer at the point of handover.
While the defect liability period obviously runs beyond this inspection, it’s still an important chance to highlight any problems while the developer is present. So here are 7 steps to look out for.
1. Inspect Doors, Keys, And Locks
With doorways being the entrance and exit to your home, it’s not only vital that they’re working right, it’s also a site that’s at high risk of being damaged during building and installation.
Check around door frames for dents and scratches as a priority. Also be sure and check all the keys and locks in your house to ensure they match up.
Nobody wants a creepy cupboard in the corner that’s never been opened because of a mismatched key.
2. Try The Cupboard Doors
Cupboard doors and kitchen cabinets are notorious spots for rushed workmanship. Make sure all doors and cabinets align property in their fitting.
If the developer doesn’t fix it, you’re going to have to get that screwdriver out yourself.
3. Check Surface Tops
Another prime location for dents and scratches are surface tops, particularly in kitchens.
Run your hand over surfaces to make sure they’re not cracked, scratched, dented, or have giant holes in the middle.
4. Check Walls And Corners
Skirting boards and the corners of walls are a common place for gaps or misaligned surfaces. Make sure there aren’t significant spaces or cracks on walls or in corners.
5. Check The Water
There’s no point turning the tap on in the kitchen and assuming they all work. Check all taps and toilets for leaks and to ensure they’re working properly.
Don’t forget to run the hot tap and make sure that is working too. Full disclaimer : this may depend on the utility situation as it stands.
6. Test The Electricity
If you want to get reallyyy particular, you need to make sure you came fully-equipped.
Bring a charging device or some kind of easy-reference electrical equipment to check sockets around the house. Full disclaimer: this might also depend on the utility situation too!
7. Check For Wonky Floors
Nobody likes a floor that’s far from even. Your sofa starts in one corner, and ends up in another. You can test the floor with a spirit measure if you’ve got serious concerns about any particular area.
A quick-check tip is using a golf or tennis ball to see if it rolls around all over the place or gets stuck in some significant cracks.
Once a defect is reported, the developer is obliged to respond and begin the process to rectify it within 30 days.
That doesn’t mean they have to necessarily fix it in that period, but they do need to show that they recognise the problem and begin the process to remedy it. Don’t give up if the developer doesn’t respond.
They tend to be quite busy at handover time! If they don’t get back to you within 30 days, it’s legally acceptable for you to begin the process of having those problems remedied at the developer’s expense.
Push for a response, and if you don’t hear anything, then it’s within your rights to get quotes for the repairs and send them to the developer yourself.
Sorting Out The Next Steps
This talk of defects is honestly a bit depressing. After that long wait to get your new home, all we can do is talk about the things that might be wrong with it!
It’s not all bad news though, once the tedious checks are done, it’s up to you to make that house a home.
1. Sort Your Utilities
Utilities are kind of important. You want to get the ball rolling on hooking yourself up as soon as possible.
In order of importance – internet, electricity, water, gas. Just kidding, they’re all about equal!
2. Contact Management
Management charges will apply for shared areas of properties like a condominium or gated community.
It’s always good to get these things sorted early on, so get in touch with the relevant management to set up your accounts.
3. Shop For Furniture
You’re almost certainly going to need some new furniture for your new home.
What better way to celebrate your fantastic new property than with the world’s most comfortable sofa? The future of Netflix-and-chill is in your hands.
4. The Party
Is a house truly a home without a house-warming party to welcome you in? Get your Facebook event sorted and send out the invitations! It’s time to celebrate!
You’ve done the hard work, the defects are fixed, and the property is yours! What’s next you ask? Maybe it’s time to think about spicing up your property with some natural beauty. Why not check out our article on the 8 Indoor Plants to Suit Your Interior Design Style.