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A new bill was presented before the National Assembly whose purpose is to regulate real estate developers. Legislator Alcibiades Vásquez, who is behind the bill, insisted that it is important for the law to be approved in order to address the almost daily complaints received by the Consumer Protection Authority (ACODECO for its initials in English) against property developers made by consumers with allegations of false advertisement, to provide a regulatory body to supervise deposit consignments and to give buyers more rights when developers are late in finishing the property.
Vasquez said that many people buy homes under the promise that they will have water 24 hours a day, parks, churches, roads and security, when the reality is totally different. Due to this situation it is import to sanction those companies for false advertisement.
Although the current National Assembly period will end in less than two months, Vasquez said that it is important to protect consumers against abusive terms and conditions and make developers who collect initial deposits from buyers of condominiums, apartments and houses put that money in consignment at the Housing Ministry in the form of guarantee bonds covering the total value of the deposits that correspond to the whole project.
Between 2006 and 2013 ACODECO received 3,086 complaints against developers, which represents a total of $225,143,775 with regards to breach of contract, guarantees and consumers asking for their money back.
According to the Property Developers National Council (CONVIVIENDA), the association that represents 80% of all the housing builders in Panama, they sold together a total of $815.5 million in 2013, representing a total of 7,627 houses. An expected growth rate of 18% in 2014 may add an extra $971.3 million upon the sale of 9,773 units.