Disclaimer






"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."
Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu
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.

Newspaper articles

They were certain they would win.
New Paper - 26 July 2008



Resident who voted yes says he has only 2 words: Disappointment & disbelief
Despite the objections filed by the minority, the majority owners of Tampines Court – more than 82 per cent – thought they could push through a collective sale.
Many of them had even scouted around and bought properties elsewhere.
But the en bloc sale of the former HUDC estate failed after the Strata Title Board (STB) dismissed its application yesterday.
Now those who have committed themselves to other properties are in a fix.
One owner told The New Paper: ‘I can’t think properly right now. I have to work out my sums and see how best to salvage the situation.’
The Board’s decision means the sale of the estate is off.
This is because the sales committee’s agreement with the buyers – Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint Properties – also expired yesterday.
The buyers, who had offered $405 million for the privatised HUDC estate, had also said they would not extend the agreement past the deadline.
Said one owner, who did not want to be named: ‘How can this be? Doesn’t the majority win?’
Another upset owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said: ‘I have two words only. Just two. Disappointment and disbelief.’
And disbelief was also how the minority owners felt when STB deputy chairman Alphonso Ang delivered the decision.
Madam Asmah Atan, 59, a housewife, was ’still in a daze’ six hours later.
She told The New Paper last night: ‘We were stunned. We looked at one another, like asking, did we hear it right?’
Madam Asmah said the group had been prepared from the start that ‘it was going to be a hard fight’.
But when the news finally sank in, the group of about 20 – who had carpooled to the STB office on Maxwell Road – celebrated their victory by hugging one another.
Madam Asmah said: ‘Some of us even broke down but it was definitely tears of joy.’
Housewife Fatimah Bee Bee Ali, 49, said: ‘For us, it means we still have a place to live in, one that is big enough to accommodate our whole family.’
She and her husband, Peter Chew, 52, an aircraft engineer, live with their four teenage children, her wheelchair-bound mother and a maid.
Madam Fatimah added: ‘With the rising prices, it would really be tough to find a unit with the same area like ours.’
The minority owners felt they owed the successful result to their legal team, comprising Mr Siva Krishnasamy of Tan Lee & Partners and Mr NSreenivasan of Straits Law.
GRATEFUL
Madam Asmah said: ‘Please help us to record our gratitude. It is because of their help that we do not have to move out of the estate which we’ve grown comfortable in.’
While the sale had caused much tension and division in the estate for nearly 14 months, some residents also appeared nonchalant about the result.
Said one, who wanted to be known only as Mr Kris: ‘If we can sell, we’ll sell. If we cannot, then we’ll just stay on here.’
Others were more concerned whether the estate, which is showing signs of age, would get a facelift.
Mr Kris added: ‘They’ve probably put off all works, thinking that we can sell the place.’
Another resident, Mr J Lim, said: ‘I guess it’s time for us to start everything on a new, clean slate.
‘And maybe this decision is the best catalyst.’
Tampines Court en bloc sale thrown out despite majority vote
25 Mar 2007: Frasers Centrepoint and Far East Organization team up to buy Tampines Court – a privatised HUDC estate – through a $405 million collective sale.
25 Jul 2007: Conditions of the sales agreement are fulfilled.
7 Jan 2008: Sales committee applies to Strata Titles Board (STB) for sale approval.
Minority owners file objections. They consider the sale price of $700,000 for each unit too low.
16 to 18 Jun: STB hears objection and sets further hearing for 7 Aug. Until the hearing, the sale cannot be signed and sealed.
30 Jun: Sales committee applies to bring 7 Aug hearing earlier – before the agreement lapses on 25 Jul.
11 Jul: STB dismissed the sales committee’s request.
14 Jul: Two committee members file affidavit in High Court, saying STB failed to take into account that any hearing after 25Jul ‘will be academic’.
Other owners appeal to National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan at Meet-The-People session.
Mr Mah, MP for the Tampines ward, agreesto appeal to STB on owners’ behalf.
18 Jul: High Court orders STB to move hearing ahead of 25 Jul deadline. New date set on 21 Jul.
21 Jul: Sales committee chairman Mathew Lee takes witness stand.
He is grilled on whether he acted in the owners’ best interests on the issue of the estate’s valuation and the method of distribution of sale proceeds.
25 Jul: STB dismisses Tampines Court’s en bloc sale application.
STB deputy chairman Alphonso Ang says the board examined the evidence and found the sale was not concluded in good faith.
It will release its grounds of decision later.
Source : New Paper – 26 Jul 2008

July 12, 2008 

Tampines Court collective sale in peril

STB rules not to bring forward Aug 7 hearing, which must take place before deal is signed by July 25 deadline

By Jessica Cheam


CRUCIAL: With no extension, the Tampines Court sale agreement will likely lapse on July 25. -- PHOTO: WWW.CHANKOKHONG.COM.SG

THE sales committee at Tampines Court looks to have shot itself in the foot after a ruling by the Strata Titles Board (STB) yesterday almost certainly killed off its estate's $405 million collective sale.

It delayed seeking mandatory STB approval for the deal and is now caught in a deadline trap of its own making.

The key date is July 25, that is when the estate's sales committee must complete the deal. However, that looks impossible now after yesterday's STB decision.

The board ruled that it would not bring forward an Aug 7 hearing set to allow testimony from witnesses that have yet to be called.

The STB had pencilled in the date after listening to sale objectors on June 16 to 18 and 'taking into account the availability of all parties and the board', it said.

Until that Aug 7 hearing is conducted, the sale cannot be signed and sealed.

The Straits Times understands that the sales committee wanted a date change as the buyers - Frasers Centrepoint and Far East Organization - will not extend the completion deadline.

With no extension, the sale agreement will likely lapse on July 25. This means the developers can walk away from a deal that looks far less compelling now than last July, given souring homebuyer sentiment and escalating construction costs.

However, this might be a blessing in disguise for some owners at the estate. The deal was inked just before the property boom at prices around $430 per sq ft (psf), but private homes in Tampines now go from $550 to $700 psf.

The deadline crunch seems to be of the sales committee's own making.

The conditions of the sales agreement were met on July 25 last year but the committee delayed applying for the standard STB approval until Jan 7.

The committee told the STB that it wanted to await the outcome of legal challenges over the contentious Gillman Heights sale.

The committee argued that if the Gillman Heights sale was halted over issues of majority consent, it would have made a Tampines Court application futile.

In the Gillman Heights case, minority owners appealed all the way to the High Court, claiming that collective sale rules did not apply to former Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estates.

Tampines Court is also a former HUDC estate so any ruling could have killed its own collective sale.

But Justice Choo Han Teck ruled last month that a privatised HUDC estate can be sold collectively if the requisite conditions are met.

While that also cleared the way for the Tampines Court sale, it left the sales committee with little time to tie up loose ends, including objections by minority owners.

The STB registrar had some sympathy yesterday for the committee's argument about why it delayed applying for sale approval.

But he pointed out that a sale agreement has a deadline and, by waiting for the High Court ruling, the committtee took the risk that it would not have enough time to get a ruling from the board before the expiry date.

'This is a calculated risk, whose consequences they will have to bear,' he said.

'The board should not be pressured to accommodate a deadline set by the applicants and the buyer.'

A lawyer acting for the minority owners told The Straits Times that he did not want to comment on the outcome.

The one lifeline for the majority owners would be if the buyers extend the deadline but that also looks a lost cause.

Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint told The Straits Times last night that they are ready to complete the deal, but 'the onus was upon the vendors to secure the STB order within the agreed timeframe, which is about 16 months from the date of the agreement'.

Savills director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong said since the deal was inked last July, construction costs have escalated a lot faster than mass market property prices.

'The project, unsurprisingly, has become less attractive,' he said.

Tampines Court is a sizeable 702,162 sq ft site with 560 units. It could be redeveloped into a new condominium with around 1,580 units averaging 1,300 sq ft.

jcheam@sph.com.sg 


Key proceedings

March 25, 2007: Tampines Court's sales committee enters a sale and purchase agreement with Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint.

July 25, 2007: The conditions of the sales agreement are fulfilled.

Jan 7: The sales committee applies to the Strata Titles Board (STB) for sale approval and the minority owners then file their objections.

June 16 to 18: The STB hears the objections and sets the next hearing for Aug 7.

June 30: The sales committee applies to bring the Aug 7 hearing forward to before the sale's July 25 expiry date.

July 11: STB dismisses the sales committee's request.

July 16, 2008 


Tampines Court owners file appeal

They are seeking to convince STB to bring forward a key hearing date on collective sale

By Jessica Cheam


ANGRY owners at Tampines Court have opened up two fronts in their battle to save their estate's $405 million collective sale.

One bid saw the sales committee lodge a High Court appeal to overturn a ruling by the Strata Titles Board (STB), while some owners made a direct plea to National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

The 10 or so owners went to a weekly Meet-The-People session on Monday night to voice their concerns to Mr Mah, the MP for the Tampines ward.

The Straits Times understands that Mr Mah, in his capacity as a local MP, has agreed to appeal to the STB on the owners' behalf to bring forward a crucial hearing date.

The timing of that hearing - scheduled to let some sale objectors have a say - is also at the centre of the sales committee's legal appeal.

The committee wants the High Court to overturn an STB ruling on when the hearing should be held.

The board said on Friday the hearing should go ahead as planned on Aug 7.

The date, however, comes after the sales agreement legally expires on July 25. If the hearing is held on Aug 7, the sale cannot be done as scheduled on July 25, effectively killing it.

Two sales committee members said in an affidavit filed on Monday that the STB failed to take into account that any hearing after July 25 'will be academic', as the sales agreement would expire and the buyers were unlikely to extend the deadline.

The buyers - Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint - have already said they 'are ready to complete the deal', but 'the onus was upon the vendors to secure the STB order within the agreed timeframe'.

The estate's tight deadline stemmed from a sales committee decision to delay lodging its application for STB approval of the sale until Jan 7 this year although all the necessary conditions had already been met as early as July 25 last year.

It told the board that it wanted to await the outcome of legal challenges over the contentious Gillman Heights sale, as this could have a bearing on the fate of the Tampines Court deal.

As it turned out, the High Court last month cleared the way for the Gillman Heights deal and, in so doing, removed any potential obstacle to the Tampines Court sale as well.

Some owners told The Straits Times that they felt this deadline mess was the STB's fault.

Madam Irene Cheang said it was the board's duty to see the sale through within the six-month guideline, and that it had been inefficient in processing the sale.

STB registrar Bryan Chew stood by the board's decision on the date of the hearing.

The time needed to get a sale approved depends on a variety of factors, including the number of objectors, the size of the estate and the complexity of the case, he said.

'This is not the first time that we've taken more than six months,' he added.

The STB said it had pencilled in the Aug 7 date after listening to sale objectors from June 16 to 18 and 'taking into account the availability of all parties and the board'.

It has become a nerve-wracking time for the owners, as many have committed themselves to other properties.

Owner K. Balasubramaniam, 55, said residents could lose about $200,000 should the sale fail. He said the average open market value of a typical unit was $500,000 - while each owner would get about $700,000 should the sale go through.

Lawyers for the majority and minority owners declined to comment.

The Straits Times understands that there will be a High Court hearing this afternoon. It will be closed to the public.

jcheam@sph.com.sg

July 19, 2008 


July 21 hearing for Tampines Court case

High Court orders STB to move hearing ahead of July 25 deadline

By Jessica Cheam


THE Tampines Court en-bloc sale was handed a lifeline by the High Court yesterday when it ordered the Strata Titles Board (STB) to bring forward a crucial hearing date.

Just a week ago, the sale had seemed as good as dead when the STB refused to change an Aug 7 hearing date. This meant the hearing would take place after the July 25 expiry date of the sales deal.

And the buyers - Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint - had already said they were unlikely to extend the deadline.

But the court yesterday granted an appeal by the majority owners. This means the STB must now hear remaining objections to the sale on Monday, four days before the deal expires.

Even with the new hearing date, STB registrar Bryan Chew said there was no guarantee a decision will be made by July 25.

'(It) depends on how long the witnesses take on the stand,' he said.

Thereafter, lawyers have to make their submissions and the board has to deliberate.

Senior counsel Michael Hwang, who was acting for the majority owners, told The Straits Times that the High Court application was made on two grounds.

First, that the hearing was set for a date beyond the six- month life of the specific board constituted to hear the estate's sale.

The owners also contended that it was wrong for STB to fix that date when it knew the sales agreement would expire on July 25.

Lawyer N. Sreenivasan argued for the minority owners and said that the STB was not obliged to complete a sale by a date set by the sellers and buyers.

The estate's deadline squeeze stemmed from a sales committee decision to delay seeking STB approval for the deal until the board had ruled on the Gillman Heights sale.

The decision on Gillman Heights could have had a bearing on the fate of the Tampines Court deal as both were former HUDC estates.

The Tampines Court committee eventually applied for sale approval on Jan 7, although all the necessary conditions had been met as early as July 25 last year.

Meanwhile, the sale has caused much tension and division in the estate.

'The whole en-bloc process has been dragging for too long and is upsetting residents,' said owner Mansur Husain.

Majority owners feel the sale price - about $700,000 for each unit - is above what the homes could get on the open market. But minority owners believe the amount is too low, given that private home prices in Tampines have shot up in the last year.

An independent analyst, Savills' director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong, said fair value is likely from $500,000 to $700,000.

Some homes can command premiums based on individual attributes, he said. Comparing prices of Tampines Court to those of new condos in the area is 'not too accurate' as the estate does not have comparable facilities, he pointed out.

jcheam@sph.com.sg

July 25, 2008 


Tampines Court sale dismissed

By Jessica Cheam


The sale has caused much tension and division in the estate, with some upset residents complaining that the process has dragged on for too long. -- PHOTO: INTERNET

THE en bloc sale of former HUDC estate Tampines Court failed on Friday after the Strata Titles Board dismissed its sale application.

The board said it had examined the evidence and found that the sale was not concluded in good faith.

It said it will release its grounds of decision at a later date.

The Board's decision effectively means that the sale of the estate is off.

That is because the sales committee's agreement with the estate's buyers - Far East Organisation and Frasers Centrepoint Properties - also expires on Friday and the buyers have previously indicated they will not extend the agreement.

The sale has caused much tension and division in the estate, with some upset residents complaining that the process has dragged on for too long.

The majority owners feel the sale price - about $700,000 for each unit - is above what the homes could get on the open market.

But minority owners believe the amount is too low, given that private home prices in Tampines have shot up in the last year.

An independent analyst, Savills' director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong, said fair value is likely from $500,000 to $700,000.

Tampines Court is spread over a sizeable 702,162 sq ft site with 560 units. It could be redeveloped into a new condominium with around 1,580 units averaging 1,300 sq ft.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    Are we still bound by the CSA? Since the sales has been dismissed, would you been kind to advice. Can put up for individual sales? You mentioned that our place has place under caveat

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    Re: yu can't gurantee....
    If there's going to be another enbloc here, yu can be sure we minorities will not sit idly and let it go thru. This time we will act from Day 1

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    RE : If there's going to be another enbloc here, yu can be sure we minorities will not sit idly and let it go thru....
    -----------------------------------
    Yes you minorities can act as aggressively as you want in every enbloc exercise. But still there are certain rules to follow. STB cannot block every objections just because u minorities say so. The SC and agents has learn their lessons through this experiences.

    If the agent or SC can garner enough majority vote and everything act according in good faith next time round, you will still have to sell your home my friend. : )

    The only way you can secure your home and live there " forever " is maybe to buy a landed house. Even then, there is still no guarantee cause landed houses in groups or row of houses are still subject to enbloc sale risk and govt acquisition. Face the fact of life my friend. There is nothing permanent you can claim on this planet earth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    Re: you can't guarantee...

    Surely you could still sell yr OWN house, without dragging in those who did not wish to do so. Nothing is forever, no human being can live forever.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    Re: Surely you could still sell yr OWN house, without dragging in those who did not wish to do so ....

    ----------------------------------
    Sorry, your suggestion is the most ideal but was never the rule of game in enbloc. For most cases enbloc are $$$$$ driven. You can accuse the majority as greedy but still this is the fact of life pal. Who don't want more $$$$ ?

    So good luck in your next enbloc battle. I must admit you guys fought hard and won and deserve the credit this time round. Maybe next time the majority can engage your lawyer instead ? : )

    Relax my friend, don't get too uptight. Celebtate your victory but prepare for the next battle than may come anytime, whether you like it or not.

    ReplyDelete