This is despite developer Napawan Co Ltd failing to pay the remaining debt to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a debt that was secured using the land titles and the homes.
“The payment has not been made. The bank and the builder are starting the auction process, which will take some months,” said Daryl Davies, 70, from Australia, who bought a condominium in Chom Tawan three years ago.
He said that more than 20 cases have been filed in the Phuket Court against Napawan and its principals, Andy and Julie Street.
Some buyers are also suing ICBC for accepting the mortgages on their properties as collateral on the Napawan loans without the home buyers’ knowledge.
“We [the buyers] are trying get the court’s consideration. We have also filed our case with the Bank of Thailand.”
“It should take around six months for the auction process. Mr Street told us that he had offered a plot of land [elsewhere] to the builder instead of money, and that the deal was accepted. We are waiting to see what happens next.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Streets have more problems over another project, Tawan Views, overlooking Ao Por on the northeast coast of Phuket.
That project, consisting of 24 units in six buildings, ground to a halt more than three years ago with the main structure completed.
The builder of that project, Pisanu Vorawath, has told The Phuket News that he has been owed B15 million since the project stopped and, despite repeated assurances from the Streets, he has yet to receive a penny.
The project website describes Tawan Views as “80 per cent complete” and offers buyers the possibility “to design and finish your own ‘shell’ apartment and buy at up to 32% off the standard price!!”
The full prices as advertised on the website range from B19.75 million to B45.6 million for the “new” three-floor mega-penthouse.
Mr Pisanu told The Phuket News that he was owed B13 million in retained fees and another B2 million for water and electrical work he had done after the main construction halted.
Most construction contracts stipulate that the client withholds a percentage of payments until the contract is completed to the client’s satisfaction.
Mr Pisanu pointed out that he did not call a halt to contruction; the client did, and should therefore pay the B13 million retained.
He also noted that he had received multiple SMSs from the Streets promising payment soon, which indicated that they agreed that he should be paid.
As a result of not being paid, Mr Pisanu’s company – which once employed 150 workers – is now effectively dead. All staff apart from a handful have been found jobs elsewhere and he is being dunned by creditors.
Mrs Street, who is a director of Tawan Views, told The Phuket News, "Tawan Views is being restructured under the guidance of professional advisers. We are preparing to [re]commence the project 1st or 2nd quarter next year ."
Asked whether he believed this, Mr Pisanu just laughed. He is considering legal action.
Additional reporting by Alasdair Forbes.