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"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.

The Immorality of En Bloc

En bloc is always talked about in terms of dollars and cents. You can find on this  blog endless circular discussions about reserve price, selling price, cost of replacement etc. I have tried every angle to persuade people that en bloc is not what it seems. It is not a straightforward process ring fenced by solid rules. It is not a guaranteed windfall. The sale committee members are not all selfless volunteers working for the greater good. The developer-buyer does not make a paltry 10% profit. It is not all over in a few months. All owners are not happy with the results. There are so many different angles from which en bloc can be attacked and I have tried them all.

And yet,  the single most important reservation I have with en bloc has nothing whatsoever to do with price. You see, in my opinion, en bloc is essentially, at it's very heart,  it's very core, deeply immoral.

We are taught from young not to do harm. Civil society depends on personal restraint and a respect for one another's person and belongings.

And yet, harm is what is done when a large group of owners band together to force their unwilling neighbours out of their homes. Group dynamics is such that no individual feels guilt or  shame in selling that which does not belong to them, stuffing money into unhappy owners' bank accounts and telling them to go find somewhere else to stay. People feel no compunction whatsoever in trampling over others in order to reap some monetary gain for themselves.

Those who instigate en bloc cannot fathom this viewpoint since it is government sanctioned and therefore requires no further thought. The Government has taken any stink of impropriety away and replaced it with the smell of money. 

It may be legal, but it is still immoral nonetheless.

The old pro-en bloc argument comparing a general election with en bloc  is a flawed . In a general election, one is voting for a third party and win or lose, there is no actual loss or gain to the voter. In an en bloc vote - the loser (20%) actually loses his most valuable possession, his home. This is a real loss and not quantifiable in monetary terms. The winner tramples over the minority's aspirations, disrupts financial planning, cashes out on a nest egg too early for some, in order to reach his own financial reward. The minority owner, by doing nothing, cannot be accused of acting selfishly for wanting to stay in the home he purchased before his proprietary rights were curtailed, and lived in for perhaps many years. It is not selfish of him to try and keep his possessions, to protect what is his and not agree to enrich his neighbour at his own expense.

To take what is not yours is morally wrong - no matter what financial restitution you make. It is wrong on first principles.

20 comments:

  1. How can you say that there is monetary gain only for the few who go for the enbloc? That gain applies to all owners, not only to those who opt for enbloc. 80% must give their approval, and not all can be pleased. If we work on the basis of unanimity, there can never be a government. This is not an utopian world. And please don't talk about morality here. My view is that the minority who refuse to heed the call of the majority are just being selfish !!

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  2. Let me put it another way. If 80% were allowed to seize your car and sell it, would you complain? If 80% were allowed to walk into your house and seize your furniture, would you try and stop them?

    I think you would.

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  3. re: How can you say..
    In the previous en-bloc at $695K, I would have lost big time. Don't tell me the interested paid on my morgage is not financial lost. It's my hard earned money. It was indeed monetary gain for the few...
    The minority who refuse to heed the call, who stopped the sale are heroes. They paid lawyers to uncover all the wrong doings. Even the Developer didn't want to have anything to do with the Beta sum scheme and refused to extend the date line.
    Now folks are selling their units above the reserved price, >$800K and you say that the minorities are selfish?
    Shouldn't the residents thank the minorities for saving them from the bad sale? - As concluded by STB?
    Are you saying that the STB is wrong in their judgement?

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  4. I have a walk-up which I need to sell and can only fetch 800K now versus 1.2 million if enbloc. Is is morally right for Itshometome and 20% anti enbloc owner to rob me of 400K because they do not wish to enbloc? Nobody seized your car or your home, you are paid 400k more than what it is worth individually after enbloc even if you object. But for those who had to sell, 400k were lost because more than 20% objected to enbloc, to put in another objective perspective. TC owner.

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  5. collective sale have been around for years. u know about it before u purchase your unit in tc. this is part of property ownership in singapore.

    no morality issue here.

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  6. Enbloc has been around since 2000 and almost exclusively for freehold/999yrs properties. The first 99 yr leasehold property was sold en bloc in 2006 (Amberville). To date, there has only been nine 99yr properties sold en bloc.. out of thousands.

    I bought in 1996, en bloc had not been born yet and the estate was still under HUDC.

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  7. Re: I have a walk-up..

    You cannot lose that which you do not possess. It isn't even a paper loss as you have no proof of even it's fleeting existence. Words alone do not make it true.

    The $400k premium you imagine you might get will anyhow not look the same in 2 to 3 years time. It will probably be just the market price of an individual unit.

    Unfortunately, to those who understand, no explanation needed, to those who don't (no matter how many times it is explained) no explanation possible.

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  8. I agree wholeheartedly with itshometome and all others opposed to enbloc. Every owner has the right to sell his/her home without consulting any of the other owners. But when they choose to go enbloc they want to sell my home so that they can get a better price. That must be morally wrong. I am not sure if enbloc is done in other democratic countries.

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  9. I agree with itshometome.
    You may want a $400K profit to en-bloc to downgrade to HDB. But that does not mean that others want to.
    There are many like me who just love the big home and great surroundings of TC and don't want to downgrade. When you want to profit $400K and force the rest to sell via en-bloc that's morally wrong!
    No one is stopping you from selling your unit at $1.2mil. If the ShunFu resident can do it, so can you. Just look for the same agent that did it for them. Your current one is lousy.
    Do you remember the "nail house" in China a few years back? The owner refused to move because he wasn't compensated enough? You have a right to your home in communist China!
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-04/03/content_842221.htm
    They moved only after getting a one-to-one deal.

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  10. Re: I have a walk up apartment...
    To get $400K above $800K at $1.2mil may be what you want and say that those who don't want to en-bloc is 'robbing' you of $400K.
    So I tell you I want $1.6mil for en-bloc, but you want to en-bloc at $1.2mil. You have just robbed me of $400K.
    And those who don't want en-bloc is 'robbing' me of $800K. - this argument is very silly!
    If you want to sell at $1.2mil, go find good property agents, they may just find you foreign rich buyers! No need to wait 2 years for completion!
    Your unit is worth $1.2mil to you, mine is worth $1.6mil to me, so don't rob me of my $400K!

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  11. It is not a matter of you want to or I want to. It is a matter whethr 80% want to sell or not.

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  12. From a legal point of view; the 80% rules.

    From a moral point of view; the 80% are not acting in good conscience, they cannot be vindicated by the eventual sale price because the initial act of expropriation of property is wrong.

    The mob takes possession of ownership of all property in the estate - both common and privately owned - and that's something which I just cannot condone for any reason.

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  13. Re: It is not a matter of you...
    If you go around telling the TC residents $1.2mil for en-bloc without proper computation, then it's just you trying to sell at minimum so that you can get rid of your unit for $400K above valuation.
    The point above is about 'robbing' folks of the $400K you imagined.
    My point of using $1.6mil is to show that your argument is flawed.
    I don't know if you got the point. If you want to sell at $1.2mil, go ahead, get a good property agent to sell your single unit for you. Don't need to do en-bloc.
    The important thing in en-bloc is not what you think you want to sell, it is computing all the various numbers, the land, the closeness to MRT stations, shopping malls etc.
    The point is the persons going around cannot explain why the minimum value is $1.2mil. The person insist that developers will NOT know the minimum is going to $1.2mil.
    This means that those trying to do the en-bloc know nothing about en-bloc and it's processes. It means it's going to be another troubled en-bloc. Because the committee will be led by the agents and lawyers again like cows to the slaughter house. And like the previous en-bloc, "if 80% wants to jump the cliff..."
    Go and jump, but I am not going with you.

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  14. Your home on earth is not forever yours, so not fight over it. Money is the root to all evil, there is no end to it on whatever of amount you all guys want. There is so much unfairness in Tampines court between the high rise and the rise block. Be your self conscious !

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  15. To all the stay-put purists, petition to the Government to disallow the 80% rule. Let the lease run out for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to see the slum at Tampines Court when the rest of Tampines Town is redeveloped by HDB!!Fyi, HDB is doing enbloc for the older blocks now. Tell them about your objection to the 80% rule, and they will tell you that those affected by the HDB enbloc are certainly happier now.
    Some people object to the installation of new lifts to their HDB blocks; ask those who have to continue walking a few floors to their flats whether they are happy just because a few die-hearts refuse to consider the well being of the majority!

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  16. For HDBs:
    Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS)
    - residents living in flats that have identified for SERS will be allocated a replacement flat at HDB's subsidised price with an added 20% price discount and receive compensation at market value for the current flat.

    Old does not mean slum. On the contrary, large units will mean desirability. In today's newspaper, there are old HDBs in Whampoa and Queenstown with 57 to 61 years lease left and they can demand COVs as high as $98k. Are they spacious and modern? I have been to one so no. Are they desirable? Yes, for their own reasons.

    Old can mean: more convenient, spacious, mature, wide, solid and cool.
    New can mean: out of the way, small, congested, poorly built and hot.

    There is no point in pressing the government to change it's stand because they will not do so, and have said so repeatedly. Pro-en bloc owners are subsequently shielded by this wall of pragmatism and so are not held accountable for their money-grubbing actions. The 80% rule is a mob rule, pure and simple.

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  17. If itshometome is so affectionate about living in an old place, the majority in Tampines Court can accede to his request and he can go live in an old Executive Apartment and have alot of extra cash to live till retirement. Or he can go live in the old HDB terrace house mentioned in today's paper and still go on a world wide cruise.

    SER residents can enjoy benefits from their re-location. Enbloc residents will get more than them, if you know how to do your sums!!

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  18. Don't give me crap about home on earth is not yours forever...
    1. Sell your home at whatever price and whenever you want without affecting others.
    2. You may live short life so sell now, others may live longer life so they hold on to their homes.
    3. Did you buy your home with your own money?
    4. Since you didn't pay for my home, don't tell me to sell mine.
    5. Since I didn't pay for your home, I won't make you sell yours.
    6. I won't force you to hold back your unit, do don't force me out of my home bought with my hard earned money with what you think your price is.

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  19. Re: To all the stay-put purists...
    You must be a 'goer'; then just go!
    No need to bring others with you.
    It's like, you're going toilet and others have to follow?!
    It's like if you want to migrate to a third world country, you don't have to drag me along one-leh.
    When someone lives on 2nd/3rd floor in HDB and you ask him to vote for lift upgrading and pay money, it's like what for right? Why vote to pay for nothing right? He'll probably be thinking why should I pay to help someone on the 9th floor? He didn't ask people to buy the apartment without lift on that floor, why must help them pay? What if he have hard time making ends meet no money for upgrading right?
    When you talk about HDB en-bloc, get your facts right, garmen provides replacements... (thanks to itshometome)
    The TC en-bloc at $1.2mil is not replacement, it is displacement...

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  20. Correction to my second comment.

    Total number of en blocs to date: 297 (not thousands!)
    Total number of 99yr en blocs to date: 9

    END OF THREAD

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