Keep it real, developers

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Friday, March 27, 2015

REAL ESTATE owners and developers will be compelled to reexamine their advertisements with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board’s (HLURB) new guidelines on advertisements.

The HLURB, in Resolution 921, revised its implementing rules on advertising subdivision and condominium projects. The practice is governed by Presidential Decree 957, as well as the “2014 Guidelines on Advertisements” recently issued by the agency.

In a document, HLURB 7 Director Alixes Roy T. Lopez said that developers are given until April 15, 2015 for all advertisements to comply with the new rules, at the risk of facing fines.


Under Board Resolution 921, which took effect last Feb. 14, 2015, advertisements containing “exaggerated and misleading” statements are prohibited.

All real estate ads should specify the name of the developer, the exact location of the project, its license to sell (LS) number, the advertisement’s approval number, and the approved completion date as indicated in the LS. For economic and socialized housing projects, a maximum selling price shall also be stated in the ads.

Pictures and illustrations should be “properly captioned” and the ad should state whether these are actual photographs, an architect’s perspective or an artist’s illustration, the HLURB said. The project’s location and distance in relation to a known place or landmark should be expressed in kilometers.

These rules will be enforced “to enable the public to make an informed choice,” said HLURB Arbiter Atty. Joe Vinson Empaces in an interview Thursday, saying these are meant to protect prospective buyers against fraud and malpractice.

Empaces added that “no mode or manner of payment and financing shall be included in the advertisement unless such payment and financing scheme is fully disclosed in the ad.”

Advertisements covered by HLURB include print, broadcast, and out-of-home ads like billboards, banners, tarpaulins, transit ads, and digital displays.

In the case of print ads, the LS number must be of the same font type and size and resolution as the advertisers’ contact number. Empaces explained the indication of a LS number will ensure prospective buyers that they are dealing with legitimate projects.

The official said it is also prohibited for a developer to advertise future projects not covered by a license to sell.

To ensure compliance, Empaces said the agency will monitor advertisements and will impose “appropriate” sanctions in case the rules are violated or ignored.
The official added that HLURB has already met with developers.

Subdivision and Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA) Central Visayas President Alexander Ace Sotto, in a text message, said there were “no major issues raised” by developers in a seminar with HLURB Commissioner Antonio Bernardo.

The new advertisement guidelines are also applicable to commercial properties, farm lots, industrial subdivisions, cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 28, 2015.


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