Property firms buck stricter HLURB ad rulings
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - August 31, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s property developers including the biggest names in the industry see a slowdown in their business this year because of the stricter guidelines on advertisements issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board’s (HLURB).

This would be the first year of implementation of the new guidelines, approved in December 2014 and which took effect in February 2015.

“The new rules…it’s killing the industry,” said a ranking executive from a major property player.

The executive said the requirements have clipped the marketing efforts of property companies and have slowed down the launch of their new projects.

Under the new rules, any announcement or advertisement about a project or its operations requires prior approval of the HLURB.  Property developers are also prohibited from issuing exaggerated and misleading statements.

“Any announcement or advertisement about a project or about its operations or activities, must reflect the real facts and must be presented in a manner that will not tend to mislead or deceive the public,” the HLURB said.

“All representations pertaining to the project’s payment and financing scheme, design and standards, and its amenities, facilities and other privileges connected with the sale of the lots, including any building or improvement thereon, or any units thereof, must conform with the rules and guidelines issued by the HLURB,” the rules stated.

The HLURB said no mode or manner of payment and financing, including the amount of reservation fee, initial deposit or downpayment, discounts and interest rates shall be included in an advertisement  unless such is fully disclosed.

Any interest rate must be stated in terms of annual percentage rate.

Disclaimers are also no longer allowed.

“Any statement of the project’s location and distance in relation to a known place or landmark shall be expressed in terms of kilometers, and any vicinity map illustrating such proximity to known places or landmarks must similarly indicate such distance or distances in terms of kilometers,” the HLURB said.

“The HLURB people go around the malls and check exhibits. They go around and ask for licenses,” the company executive said.

The same executive said  the approval process takes time and thus, slows down business.

“All projects must have a license to sell, which is fine but HLURB takes their sweet time issuing licenses. They have requirements that are dependent on local government units and the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Now we are at their mercy,” the source said.

An official from another company said while the HLURB’s intention is good, it has created another reason for red tape.

Most property companies felt the brunt of the new regulations last April and May.

“During this time, many exhibits were cancelled and billboards and flyers were down,” the official said.

Another source said industry players have already appealed to HLURB Commissioner and CEO Antonio Bernardo to relax the new rules but to no avail.

ACIRC ANTONIO BERNARDO APRIL AND MAY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES EXECUTIVE HLURB HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD NEW PROJECT PROPERTY RULES
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