Residents complain of 5-year struggle with Blue Ocean Residencies

Monday, 7 September 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Multiple tenants of Blue Ocean Residencies at Colombo 6 have lodged a complaint with the Condominium Management Authority (CMA), listing a host of issues relating to facilities promised but not provided for, and overall poor state of the complex. 

Blue Ocean Group (Blue Ocean Residencies Ltd.) developed the apartment complex in 23 Moor’s Road, Colombo 06 in 2014, to be handed over in 2016. After a delay of nearly two years, during March/April 2018, the owners were handed over the keys, while the apartment complex was still incomplete. The developer promised to complete the remaining work, obtain certificate of conformity (COC), and transfer the title to residents within 3 months, falling due in July 2018. 

The residents of the apartment have repeatedly questioned the Blue Ocean Group and have not received any satisfactory replies. The promised completion of common area facilities and fire and safety arrangements are pending to date. The facilities include security gates, side wall, mechanical car parking arrangements, unfinished mezzanine floor. The lack of a functioning fire extinguishing system and incomplete transformer room are serious safety risks. The developers have continued to ignore these issues despite several meetings and promises of corrective action. Thus far, no progress has been made. 

The residents have now taken over the maintenance of the complex through a voluntary management committee, and lodged a complaint to the Condominium Management Authority in November 2019 in order to find urgent remedies regarding the above issues. The Blue Ocean Group is a popular developer in Colombo, but has been previously accused for letting down investors in other properties. The lack of transparency and accountability in the construction of these apartment complexes poses a serious threat to the real-estate investment in Sri Lanka. Further, it also risks the lives of people who live in these complexes for which the developers have seemingly no regard.  

A resident of the apartment stated, “I have invested all of my savings and haven’t received the deeds and they are not even replying to our email or returning our phone calls,” he said. He further added, “Given the state of the complex it is evident that they have not received the COC from the regulatory authorities and therefore as residents we are suffering from an unfinished property.” Another frustrated resident made a similar complaint saying, “We have paid for these apartments in full and after 5 years there is no COC or deeds provided.”

Another resident emphasised that the safety in the building due to the incomplete construction of a side wall is a huge risk. He narrated, “In one incident the plastering of the wall broke down and fell towards the ground floor, causing a loud explosion-like noise in the ground floor.” These incidents have caused serious panic amongst residents, who are often left to solve issues by themselves as the Blue Ocean managers show absolutely no interest in the matter. 

Due to the incomplete property, residents have complained that the maintenance costs are considerably high. The lack of individual electricity and water meters for residents have meant that a common cost must be shared by all apartment units. There have been numerous occasions where there has been disconnection of electricity connection due to non-payment by Blue Ocean, despite residents having deposited the monthly payment to the designated bank account given by the developers. Due to these issues, the apartment complex management committee have now started to manage utilities on their own.  

A member of the management committee stated that the complex had been built through a loan facility provided by Sampath Bank of Rs. 45 million, which has not been settled by Blue Ocean so far. 

The directors of Blue Ocean Group, Suranee Thumilan and Sivarajah Thumilan, are not only irresponsible but completely unapologetic of the distress caused to their customers. As such, the Condominium Management Authority (CMA) should use its vested powers to file legal action against Blue Ocean Group on various grounds, including but not limited to serious violations of condominium laws of Sri Lanka. While some of the residents have also decided to individually institute legal action, they also urge the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to file charges against Blue Ocean in this regard, the residents alleged.