Langebaan’s Villa Diamante residents unhappy about poor building quality
Unfinished construction and massive losses of income have owners of units in Langebaan’s Villa Diamante residential development furious, out of pocket, and taking legal action.
Owners say the development has been characterized by shoddy workmanship from the start, and the builder and the developer have dodged their commitments and continually made excuses.
Some owners have instituted legal action against the developer, while others have said they’d like to engage a lawyer, but their loss of income due to their inability to rent their units, has prevented them from being able to do so.
Owner of a two bedroom townhouse in Villa Diamante, Leverne Gething, said she was “flabbergasted” at the way she and her property have been treated.
She said she agreed to let her unit to the contracted builder, Chris Snyman (owner of Boukon), as a showroom from August 2008 to February 2009, at which point he allegedly “skipped without paying one red cent”.
“Whenever I spoke to him he’d say ‘Sorry it’s taken so long, I will do something’. He owes me R40 000. One day I arrived and there was a family living there with a boat parked outside,” she said.
Gething said before she could rent the unit to a new tenant she had to hire a cleaning service as it was “filthy” and uninhabitable, and various fixtures, such as shower heads and wall sockets, had been removed.
Heinrich Koorts, managing director of Seeff West Coast, said substandard workmanship was evident in many of the units, and that the Saldahna Bay municipality had stopped the development “several times”. These problems had prevented owners from being able to profit from their investments, he said.
“Clients are frustrated because they want units with tenants in them. Some need garage doors, others need towel rails – small things that need to be done but simply are not. We have had problems with the buildings right from the start,” said Koorts.
He said various letting agents had lost “astronomical” amounts of money in the last three years.
The developer, Jeremy Steenkamp, said only units with moneys still owing were missing necessary fixtures, and that tardy payments by owners had left him R5-million in arrears.
“When people don’t pay me the money is taken off my account. I have the fittings on site and will put them in when people pay,” said Steenkamp.
He admitted to problems with the contracted builder, but said he was in the process of addressing the complaints.
“I appointed Boukon and they have caused me a lot of heck. But I am now finished with 90% of the houses,” he said.
But Koorts contested Steenkamp’s version of events.
“Many of the units were paid for upfront, and even in these cases we have had to pay extra money for electricians and plumbers to get the places livable. No stoves, no taps, no water, no shower doors, no power. The list goes on and on,” said Koorts, who had himself owned one of the properties but cancelled his contract after losing two years’ worth of interest. He said units were left in a “pigsty” after the contractor had been in them and that he was owed almost R2-million in commissions, and that one tenant had moved into a guesthouse.
Another letting agent, who wished to remain anonymous said “every single house rented out is a nightmare”. He said some owners have been unable to put tenants in their units for more than two years and had lost a substantial amount of money.
A tenant who also wished to remain anonymous described dealings with the developer as “all lies and crap”.
“Some owners simply don’t have the financial capacity for legal representation,” said the owner.
Contractor Chris Snyman refused to comment on the allegations against him.