30 June 2010

Have Keys, Need Furniture...

And tiles, paint, stove, fridge, microwave, shelves, closets, and everything else in between.

It has been four days since the house was turned over to us by Desiree from Avida. Earl and I brought along Architect Mario (aka Uncle Mayong) to go over the place with Engineers Frolan (who is also an Avida Property Manager) and Mark.

But we cannot move in just yet and work on the house as there are many items that still need fixing:
- uneven walls
- uneven floors
- exposed pipes both inside and outside the house
- unfinished surfaces
- even more holes in the walls that need to be sealed
- water coming in through the back door when it rains
- concrete front porch area is hollow underneath

With regards to the uneven floor, Engr. Frolan advised that things will even themselves out when we have our flooring material installed (i.e. laminated wood). Somehow though that didn't sound quite right... I said to him that we should not be fixing the mistakes made by Avida and that quality does not mean "repairs needed". I also told Uncle Mayong about it and he definitely agreed with me.

Sigh (again). Truth be told, I am not too upset about the situation probably because I anticipated this happening. And when you expect it, then it's not a surprise. Well, at least the house is a beautiful shade of blue!

So, I've now decided to concentrate on the next phase - fixing up the house. And to say that I am excited about this is a HUGE understatement!

27 June 2010

The Legal Department: Rebuttal & Closing Arguments

Our Rebuttal dated May 28:

This is in response to your letter of reply dated “May 17, 2009” (sic), apologizing for the delay in turning over the property of my clients, Spouses Earl and Nicole... In the same letter, you mentioned that you have granted certain concessions to my client for the delay and thus should be evidence that the award of damages is unwarranted.

Please allow us to argue why these concessions were inadequate to compensate for the inconveniences.

In item #1, the granting of my clients’ request to delay the release of the proceeds of the loan from PSBank, the bank selected by my clients, cannot be deemed as a concession because, as per policy, the bank cannot release the loan amount until the unit is 100% complete. This was not a condition set by my clients. Avida should know this because it accredited the said bank.

As to item #2, it should have been an easy task for Avida to extend and shoulder the replacement fees for the EGC as it was issued by Ayala Malls, which has the same ownership as Avida. In addition, there have been four promised delivery dates – August 2009 (by the sales agent), fourth quarter 2009 (according to the contract), 31 March 2010 (by Ruth G. from Avida Land), and 30 April 2010 (by Ellen S. from Avida Land). My clients do not find it acceptable that there have been four promised delivery dates, none of which were met.

Regarding item #3, the Property being painted “blue” cannot be deemed as a concession. In Annex C and Annex C-1 of the contract, the color of the house has been specified as “blue”. Painting the property a color other than “blue” would have been a breach of contract once again.

We also sent them a formal letter of complaint (the contents of which have been mentioned in previous blog posts that you can read here and here).

Avida's Closing Arguments dated June 9:

Regarding the rectifications requested by your clients on the Unit, please be informed of the following:

1. Avida has already corrected the typographical error in the technical description of the Unit;

2. Completed the repainting of the exterior wall of the Unit with your clients' preferred color (blue);

3. Doors were already adjusted and holes were fixed;

4. Ground floor Toilet & Bath (T & B) - part of the walls on this T & B were not painted since the unpainted portion of said walls is where the preferred tiles of our client will also be installed, in addition to the floor tiles.  Your client requested not to install the standard tiles used by Avida for this particular house model.

In your letter, we understand that you have advised your clients to settle this case for a compensation of rentals paid... on the house leased by Spouses pending the turn-over, plus payment of attorney’s fees.

We wish to emphasize that pursuant to the Contract to Sell executed between Avida and your clients, the stated turn-over date of the Unit is last quarter of calendar year 2009. Thus, legally and based on the express provisions of the Contract to Sell, Avida has until the end of December 2009 to turn-over the Unit. In other words, Avida only incurred delay in the turn-over of the Unit beginning January 2010. However; in the interest of fair settlement of this matter, Avida shall shoulder the rental beginning December 2009 until May 2010, ...notwithstanding that delay by Avida has not yet occurred as of December 2009. This amount is the final offer of Avida and shall be effective only until June 18, 2010.


Avida is ready to turn over the unit to your clients by June 18, 2010 subject to the release of the PSBank loan proceeds to pay the purchase price of the Unit. In this regard, Avida respectfully requests that your clients instruct and arrange with PSBank for release of the loan proceeds on June 15, 2010. Please note the release of the loan proceeds is a non-negotiable condition precedent of Avida for the formal turn-over of the Unit. Avida has already complied with all the constructions requests of your client concerning the Unit.

If your client is not able to process and facilitate the release of the loan proceeds by June 15, 2010, Avida shall be constrained, much to our regret, to cancel the Contract to Sell over the Unit for non-performance / breach of your clients’ obligation to pay the purchase price of the Unit.

Uh, Avida, you can't demand a time limit if you yourself can't follow your own deadlines... Just a thought.

In our complaint letter, we never mentioned the color of the house as it was already painted blue as of April 30 (a month ago). It's either you can't keep your facts straight or you're trying to pad your list of "good deeds."

I could argue some more but we are tired. This whole situation has brought about a lot of conflict and ill will - so much so that at one point we actually considered giving up the house. We now just want this to end as quickly as possible so that we can move on to better things - like planning how to decorate!

Sigh. Avida, do you know that all this could have been avoided?


Note: I have only included sections of the letter which I think are important and have omitted those which I have deemed irrelevant to this post.

25 June 2010

The Legal Department: Opening Statements

As mentioned in a previous post (you can read it here), due to the trouble we were having with Avida, our lawyer sent a demand letter for breach of contract. Here's what Atty. Stephen sent:

I write in behalf of Sps Earl and Nicole. You have executed a Contract to Sell, whereby you promised to deliver a house and lot... start of last quarter of 2009, i.e. Oct. 1, 2009 to said Spouses.

You have grossly defaulted on such promise, even while your agents promised earlier date of completion of August 2009.

While the Spouses expected to transfer residence on Oct 1, 2009, to save on monthly rentals they were paying at their residence..., they were disgusted that for no justifiable reason you were not able to deliver but that thru email your agents promised a delayed completion date of March 31, 2010.
Again what a frustration for them to find out that the house was not finished by March 31, 2010, and again your agents promised end of April, with apologies.

The Spouses cannot take it anymore. You have to compensate their damage consisting of 7 months rentals, besides their moral and exemplary damages for your wanton breach of the contract, ...plus Atty’s Fees.

Avida's reply dated May 17:

Please allow us to extend our sincerest apologies to your clients, Spouses Earl and Nicole, for the unintentional delay in the turnover of the Property and to accept Avida's heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused your clients. We wish to inform you that Avida has addressed the cause of this delay and is now ready to turn-over the Property to the Spouses, subject only to the release of the bank loan proceeds applied for by your clients as payment for the Property.

As a brief background, the delay in the original turn-over date of end of the calendar year 2009 was earlier communicated to the Spouses in January 2010. To compensate for this unintentional delay, Avida consented to your client's request to hold off of likewise delay the release of the proceeds of the bank loan secured by the Spouses, until such time when the Property is ready to be turned over to your clients. The loan proceeds would have served as the payment by your clients for the Property purchased from Avida. In addition, Avida also consented to the extension of the availment of the EGC sales promotion. The EGC sales promotion was an add-on incentive given to buyers that should only be used within the validity period but Avida allowed the extension and shouldered the replacement fees.

We do understand that several communications between Avida and the Spouses have transpired to another extension of the turn over date to April 30, 2010. Rest assured that Avida has addressed the internal issues which caused the delay and is now ready to turn over the Property to the Spouses, subject to the release of the bank loan proceeds for the payment of the purchase price of the Property. Please note also that as per your client's request, the Property has been painted "blue".

Will all due respect and as evidenced by the aforementioned concessions granted by Avida to the Spouses for the unintentional delay in the turn over of the Property, Avida firmly believes that it did not act in bad faith, in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner as to warrant the award of damages as claimed by your clients.

The first paragraphs felt sincere but the rest of it gave me an apoplectic fit - thus negating any happy thoughts I might have had while reading the first few lines.

Avida, you make it sound as if you had been giving us constant updates. And may I please ask how much did you pay for the fees? Did the amount reach into the thousands? Somehow, I highly doubt it. Also, I didn't know you could delay the release of the loan - you just gave me an idea (thanks!)... Oh, and that fourth paragraph - a bit of an overkill.

But I have noticed that Avida does try, really they do - I will say that for them. They come off great at the start but have trouble coming through to the end and their response letter is an example of that. You could say their heart is in the right place, they just need to work on the follow through - which in my opinion is the most important part.


Note: I have only included sections of the letter which I think are important and have omitted those which I have deemed irrelevant to this post.

21 June 2010

Miscellaneous Information

TCT – Donna from the Avida Land Inc. (ALI) Group Support sent us an email last June 6 that the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) error has been corrected. She also advised that their sales documentation team will send an update once they have reviewed the documents.

As of today, they have yet to send the corrected forms for our signature. Actually, we have not heard from them since.

House Turnover – In a letter dated June 9, Avida advised that our new turnover date is scheduled for June 18. Since they gave the notification more than a week in advance, is it too much to hope that they are going to thoroughly check the house this time? We’re crossing our fingers...

Bank Loan – Christine from the bank informed me today that the loan proceeds have been released to Avida last June 16. This means our amortization will start next month, July 16.

We are now heavily mortgaged and actually quite happy about it - at least at the moment.

06 June 2010

Design Folder: Idea Files For Your Ideal Space

There's a plethora of western websites and blogs on interior design but hardly any local ones. So it was a pleasant surprise to find out about Design Folder.

While they still feature foreign photos, there's a lot of information on local design, furniture stores, art, etc. Here's a quote from their first post:

"Some may argue that there are already a lot of foreign websites dealing with design and decoration. The problem is that their information, suppliers, and design ideas are often not applicable to our local setting, aesthetic taste, and budget (let’s face it, most of us can’t afford to execute many of their design tips).

Design Folder would like to fill that virtual spot."

Happy reading!
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