Baguio land developer belies homeowners’ allegations

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BAGUIO CITY – The Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc. maintained that it has not levied neither collected any fees from the homeowners association for security and maintenance as it remains complaint to the provisions of Presidential Decree (PD) 957 or the Urban Development and Housing Act.

In his letter to Herald Express, SLDRI licensing and legal department head lawyer Jerry B. dela Cruz stated that records show that Pinewoods Residential Estates homeowners Association, Inc. reportedly entered into a management service agreement with RS Property Management Corp. for the latter to perform certain responsibilities among others such as send notices to property owners that a security and maintenance services is provided engaged by the group and collect from every homeowner the payment of a reasonable fee for the said purpose.

He clarified that the meeting hosted by the Tuba municipal council was called for the purpose of discussing the concerns of Tupinao residents regarding the collection of ‘right-of-way pass’ by the association where the residents, who are not homeowners of the SLRDI subdivision project, maintained that they entered into an agreement with the developer for the passage or right-of-way in the Pinewoods subdivision project.

The SLRDI legal officer pointed out the current officers of the homeowners association, however, opined that they are not privy to the aforesaid agreement, thus, the same is not binding to them

He asserted that SLRDI is not a party to the management services agreement between the homeowners association and RS Property and that there is no imputation of the alleged violation as stated in the allegations of the group against the subdivision developer.

According to him, it was in the course of the discussion that the opinion of the officials of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DSHUD) was sought by the municipal council where the comments were related to Section 27 of PD 957 against the subdivision developer.

Under the fore cited provision, no owner or developer shall levy upon any lot or buyer a fee for an alleged community benefit. Fees to finance services for common comfort, security and sanitation may be collected only by a properly organized homeowners association and only with the consent of a majority of the lot or unit buyers actually residing in the subdivision or condominium project.

In a rejoinder, the group expressed its appreciation to SLRDI for responding to on the news item previously published on the issues raised against the subdivision developer.

In a follow-up statement, the homeowners acknowledged that there are issues and concerns affecting the state of subdivision living at Pinewoods built in the mid-90s gratefully by the company as a golf course and a privately gated residential complex that now comprises about 73 members living in the area and about 300 lot owners who have invested in properties whose future they believe in.

According to the homeowners, what happened in the public hearing conducted by the Tuba municipal council was an eye opener to the homeowners association and that the group was surprised to learn from the human settlements agency that the matter of assessment, collection, and receiving of payment by RS Property Management from subdivision residents for security and maintenance appears to have been not in conformity with the law which was later confirmed by the regional director of the agency in a letter addressed to the group’s president.

It added that the same is the precise reason why on March 31, 2021, the homeowners association enacted Board Resolution No. 12, series of 2021 which invokes the revised rules and regulations for PD 957, specifically Section 27 as implemented by the human settlements department, as policy guidelines for specific courses of action by the group.

“We have sought out an immediate discussion with SLRDI and RSPM even as we have maintained the need for transparency and accountability in complying with what the government laws have set,” the homeowners stipulated.

The group asserted that this is to serve, not just to serve homeowners entitled to state protection, but also of developers whose responsibility as developers remains theirs alone, until the full conditions for development are fulfilled and properly certified as completed by the government.

The group pointed out that it is not their wish to thresh these matters in so public a manner and that there is a forum for the said purpose between partners for responsible subdivision development and as stated in their letter to the SLRDI of the earlier resolution, they believe that it still remains for both parties to forge a common action plan that will renown to their aligned interest with no less than the homeowners we being as a shred goal under existing laws.

The group claimed that the letter of Atty. Dela Cruz to the publication appears to be a first step in opening up the avenues for better communication between partners, the developer SLRDI and the homeowners association looked upon by law as the eventual overseer and manager of the subdivision.

“We thank the Herald Express for devoting invaluable attention to the issues and concerns as written above. For now, there is no need to belabor what have been so comprehensively reported. There certainly is a better time and a rational way to move ahead in fostering good subdivision living. Please watch our back as we endeavor to serve the needs of our residents, for better security, for ample supply of public utilities, for better management of health and sanitation, for protection of our environment, for making our subdivision a genuine model of a good community life,” the statement of the Board of Directors stressed. By HENT

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