"I am a BLOGGER NOT an expert. This is a BLOG not a 'go-to' website for official information. I represent no one's view save my own. I have neither legal nor financial training, nor do I have anything to do with the real estate industry. My understanding of the Collective Sale Process is from a layman's position only. My calculations, computations and tables are homespun and may contain errors. Please note that nothing in this blog constitutes any legal or financial advice to anyone reading it. You should refer to your lawyer, CSC or financial adviser for expert advice before making any decision. This disclaimer is applicable to every post and comment on the blog. Read at your own risk."
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There is one thing worse than an Enbloc ----- and that is an Enbloc done badly. Since the majority have the necessary mandate to sell, then they owe it to all SPs to make a success of it. Minority SPs can only watch and wait, if they sell then lets pray it's at a price we can move on with, if they don't sell, then we are happy to stay for a few more years.


Horizon Towers STB Round 2:

Day 1:
The minority believe " they have plenty of objections to the sale that they have not yet aired. It is believed that these range from alleged non-compliance with the law governing en bloc sales to the sale being prejudicial to the minority owners."

Another lawyer turned up, this time representing a disgruntled majority owner who did not accept the new SC, their lawyers or their authority to extend the deadline to Dec 11. He contended that there was a 'frustrated' CSA as well as S&P agreement. More details on this point of argument can be found here:
Business Times -31 oct 2007

He was asked to leave but could hand in a written submission by the end of the week.

Next hearing will be 6-15 Nov at Court 15, City Hall, Level 2
Day 2:
Seven vow to go all out to stop sale
SEVEN owners who opposed the collective sale of Horizon Towers from the word ‘go’ vowed last week to spend as much as it takes to keep their homes.
They have already spent nearly $2 million to fight the sale and may rack up double that by the time the saga is resolved.
‘We have no budget,’ said one, a retired former chief executive. ‘In life, not everything has to do with money. For us, this is our only home.’
These owners are locking horns with the majority owners – those who voted for the collective sale – at the Strata Titles Board (STB).
The hearing, with all the twists, turns and fighting over legal niceties that has marked it from day one, involves majority owners seeking STB approval for the original sale application rejected in August.
A number of minority owners – including the defiant seven who are split into two groups, each represented by different lawyers – oppose this, on a variety of grounds.
Disgruntled owners are becoming more common in Singapore. The property boom and the surge in collective sales have led to increasing numbers of people finding that rising replacement costs mean their bounty from selling en bloc counts for little.
One of the seven minority owners, who lives in a 5,000 sq ft penthouse, said: ‘There are seven people in my family, including the helper. You cannot expect us to downgrade to a 1,000 sq ft place.’
But the problems at Horizon Towers go deeper than that. The unhappiness over the sale of the 99-year leasehold estate started in January, said the seven minority owners.
It was then that they and many others learnt – via a newspaper report – that their 210-unit estate had been sold for $500 million to Hotel Properties and two partners.
The seven are among the 10 groups of owners who did not agree to sell and subsequently filed objections. One has withdrawn his objections.
They say the $500 million price tag, which works out to $850 per sq ft, is an unfair sum because prices have risen considerably. Developments nearby sold for more than double the price per sq ft achieved at Horizon Towers this year.
The seven owners spoke freely about protecting their homes but were cagey about disclosing personal details. Six of the seven refused to divulge full names, although they are listed in the STB affidavit.
They were also reluctant to reveal job details. One is a businessman, one runs her own company and there are at least three retirees – a lawyer, a chief executive and a property developer.
What unites them is the fight for their homes – something they say money cannot buy, and certainly not at last year’s prices.
Apart from their ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the sale, they are also clued-up about the law. ‘We are very different from other objectors,’ said Ms J. Tan, one of the seven. ‘We are very well-informed and very well-educated.’
A second owner, who was bemoaning the fact that every day of delay costs them about $100,000 in legal fees, said: ‘Every time someone makes a mistake, it becomes my problem.’
Said another: ‘If I don’t have grounds, I will not throw away my money. If I win, nobody will pay us back.’

Source : Straits Times – 6 Nov 2007

Business Times - 7 Nov 2007
Re: Sales committee member grilled on why he didn't take heed of rising prices
"Quote :Mr Fong also asked why Mr Wee didn't try to get a better sale price when it became known that residential property prices were beginning to soar; he referred Mr Wee to a
Jan 11 Business Times article, 'Developers revive interest in unsold collective sale sites', reporting just such a surge in home prices.Mr Wee's response - 'I don't believe anything in the papers.' - drew sniggers from the crowd. When Mr Fong pressed on, saying that BT was 'a respectable daily', Mr Wee clarified his comment to mean that he felt 'we should not take everything at face value'. Referring again to the Jan 11 BT article - and the fact that neighbouring development, The Grangeford, had upped its minimum asking price by a quarter - Mr Ramesh said these should have alerted the Horizon Towers' sales committee to the fact that property prices were rising, that the promised premium had been 'significantly eroded' and that they should have done more to get a higher price.Mr Wee said the sales committee did try but relied on the expert advice of their sales agent, Alvin Er, that $500 million was the best price they could get. He said it never occurred to him that he could seek advice from other experts.

Comment : Mr. Wee said 'we should not take everything at face value'. Yet, he relied at face value the expert advice of Alvin Er, without occurring to seek supporting advice from other experts..... "

Forum page.
Other Days:
Business Times-8 Nov 2007
Straits Times - 8 Nov 2007
Business Times - 13 Nov 2007
Business Times - 15 Nov 2007
Majority owners fault Sale Committee
 MORE displeasure was expressed at the Strata Titles Board (STB) hearing into the Horizon Towers sale yesterday – this time, not from the minority owners who opposed an en bloc sale but the majority owners who agreed to it.
They found fault with the sales committee’s efforts, particularly, its failure to consult owners about going ahead with an offer from Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) and its partners, which just met the reserve price of $500 million, set months before property prices started surging.
Majority owner Poonam Harilela, whose family owns several units in the development, said that they agreed to the en bloc sale in April 2006 because they were told by the sales committee they would get an 80 per cent premium if they sold their units collectively rather than individually.
But by January 2007 – around the time the sales committee signed the deal with HPL and its partners – that premium had dwindled significantly.
Ms Harilela said that her father’s unit attracted an offer of more than $2 million in December 2006 – close to what it would get in a collective deal – so it did not make sense to sell it en bloc.
She conceded that the quantum of the premium was not guaranteed by the sales committee.
‘But the reason we went for the en bloc was the premium, because it could better our lives,’ she said.
‘The main reason why we wanted to sell was to upgrade our lives, not to downgrade and have nowhere to live.
‘We’re not talking about the stock market, we’re talking about a home. And at that point in January 2007, the prices were so high we couldn’t get a replacement unit. And that’s the point,’ said Ms Harilela, who has lived in Horizon Towers for 17 years.
She acknowledged that the collective sale agreement signed by the consenting owners was legal and binding and gave authority to the sales committee to sell the development as long as the reserve price of $500 million was met.
She said that this was why she approached sales committee chairman Arjun Samtani – before the deal was sealed – to ask if the committee could reconsider selling the development en bloc.
A second witness yesterday, Mohinder Kalra Singh, testified in his affidavit that the sales committee failed to go back to the consenting owners to ask them whether they wanted to proceed with the HPL offer.
The hearing before STB was concluded yesterday.
The various parties have until Nov 23 to make their closing submissions to the tribunal and until Nov 30 to make their replies.
The STB tribunal will then deliberate and announce its decision by Dec 7 – just before the sale completion deadline of Dec 11.
If the tribunal approves the sale and grants Horizon Towers a collective sale order, the minorities still have the right to appeal against that decision.
If the STB decides not to grant an order and the sale falls through, HPL may go ahead with the lawsuit it has filed against the majority owners for breach of the sale and purchase agreement.
Business times 16-Nov 2007
Horizon towers hearing over, Strata Titles Board yet to rule
PUBLIC hearings on the hotly-disputed $500 million collective sale of Horizon Towers drew to a close at the Strata Titles Board (STB) yesterday.

But it is still unclear if the STB will hand down a result by Dec 11: the sale completion deadline for the 99-year leasehold property.

Both sides – those for and against the sale – must file written closing submissions by Nov 23 and a reply by Nov 30. The STB said it will make a decision in due course, after considering the submissions.

Sources said a ruling could come as soon as early December.

But even if that happened, the case could drag on if one side decided to appeal against the ruling.
Already, this STB hearing is said to be the longest ever. The dispute stems from unhappiness among some owners who feel the $500 million price tag is unfair.

The case went back to the STB last month after the High Court decided that the STB’s earlier decision to throw out the sale on technical grounds was wrong.

The consenting owners had earlier extended the sale deadline to Dec 11 in a bid to avert a lawsuit brought by developer Hotel Properties and its two partners for alleged breach of contract.

The STB had said during the hearing that it had no legal obligation to rule before the deadline.
One of the objectors, Ms J. Tan, is optimistic about the outcome of the hearing. ‘We fought hard for our homes… We are confident that a case of bad faith has been made out.’

She said the evidence suggests to them that the $500 million deal was inked this year even though the consenting owners would have objected to it, given that the premium had evaporated. After all, the premium was what had induced the consenting owners to sign the collective sale agreement, she said.
Two consenting owners – Ms Poonam Harilela, a member of the Harilela family that owns Holiday Inn Park View Singapore, and Mr Mohinder Kalra, employed by the Harilela group for 32 years – gave evidence on that point yesterday.

Mr Kalra, who owns one unit, said that he had signed the agreement because of an expected 80 per cent premium, but that this premium had almost vanished by January. He told the board yesterday: ‘I thought to myself that if this unit has to be sold at $2.3 million, why do we need a collective sale?’
A unit was valued at $2.2 million in February.

At $500 million, apartment owners would get about $2.3 million each, while penthouse owners would get at least $4 million each.

Straits Times - 16 Nov 2007
Friday 07 Dec 2007

HorizonTowers Decision : minority lost their case.

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