23 January 2018

Developer leaves Franklin unit buyers in limbo as unpaid builder walks off site

| Ruwendi Wakwella
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Esque Franklin

The builder of Esque development in Franklin has staged a walkout, citing payment issues. Photo: Supplied.

Dissatisfied residents of a new multi-unit development in Franklin have been left in limbo after the contracted builder staged a walkout with his team, claiming the developer had not paid them for their services for many months.

Residents began moving into Esque, a 90-unit development, in mid-November but have since complained about incorrect whitegoods packages, missing keys, and unfinished items in the units.

It is believed that the builder, Michael Scott, had been responding to these issues but became increasingly frustrated with the developer for not paying him, the tradespeople and other stakeholders for their services throughout the construction stage, resulting in him leaving the site.

The developer, M&A Group headed by Andy Chen, remains responsible for repairing defects in the units and common property but is allegedly not responding to any communication requests at this time.

Esque Franklin

The Esque development. Photo: Supplied.

When approached for comment, the selling agent, Independent Property Group, advised that it had established an internal team to facilitate communication between buyers, the developer, and their solicitor.

However, as the sales contract lies between the buyer and the developer, Independent Property Group said it was limited in what it could do to progress the situation. Operations Manager of Independent Property Group Project Marketing, Cassandra Cumberland said Independent Property Group had been communicating with affected buyers and understood their concerns.

“We are very disappointed with the developer’s response to the situation and understand this a very confusing and frustrating time for buyers. We firmly believe and expect that units are delivered in accordance with the developer’s obligations under the sales contract. We will continue to assist buyers with their concerns,” Ms Cumberland said.

The team has been collating issues raised by buyers and forwarding these to the developer for action. It has been providing updates to affected buyers and will continue to provide all buyers with information as it is received.

Independent Property Group will be holding an information evening for buyers early next week to provide them with an opportunity to share their concerns and clarify the situation.

In addition to this, Independent Property Group is also pursuing advice about future options for the development including indemnity insurance.

Independent Property Group said that communication with the builder had been continuous and the builder had made a significant effort under adverse circumstances.

Buyers have been urged to contact their solicitors for further advice.

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