Enbloc: the neighbours are at it again

DEPENDING on which side you are on, it is a case of try and try again, or deja vu, as some residents will testify.

Condominium en bloc sales have cooled, due in part to the new Land Titles (Strata) Act that came into force in October, but at least two large developments are getting back into the game.

Bayshore Park, on Singapore’s East Coast, is in the process of forming a new sales committee after it had to disband the original one because of the new ruling.

A group of opposing residents had sent a lawyer’s letter to the old committee challenging its constitution and its validity under the amended Act.

Developments at the 21-year-old condominium – which is over 1 million sq ft in size – is keenly watched by marketing agents and developers alike because of its prime sea-front location and vast land area.

Clementi Park, on Singapore’s West, is another condominium that had faced hurdles in its en bloc process, as the first sales committee was disbanded because it did not garner enough support – at least 80 per cent – for a collective sale even after a year.

Like Bayshore, it sits on about 1 million sq ft of land, but unlike the former which is on 99-year-lease, it is on freehold land. Despite its lack of success, another sales committee has been formed.

At both condominiums, the disbanding of previous sales committees gave a brief respite to residents who did not agree with the en bloc sales, but these dissenting voices now find themselves having to rally support against the cause – yet again.

These residents say the renewed efforts are disruptive to their lives and have a dampening effect on votes calling for upgrades to their homes – as some residents may not vote in favour, due to the uncertainty of whether an en bloc will eventually be pushed through.

However, a second attempt at en bloc sales may not be all that negative, said director of head consultancy and research at Chesterton International, Mr Colin Tan.

“The first time an en bloc sale is noted, it would usually catch people by surprise and there would be people who are resistant because they are not in the right frame of mind to sell or they already have invested in it,” he said.

“In a second try, residents are more attuned to the possibility of an en bloc sale and are thus prepared for it. So, they can make a more informed decision.”

But residents who are less than enthusiastic about parting with their homes say that repeated en bloc attempts are just disturbing their peace of mind.

“I think it’s bad news,” said Bayshore Park apartment owner Stephen Seow.

“After looking around Singapore, I can’t find anything suitable. We bought this apartment for the purpose of retirement. We want to stay here, enjoy all the nice facilities, the ambience and the greenery.

“In the new condominiums, there are space constraints. We wouldn’t have the same type of freedom,” he added. 

Source : Today – 21 Dec 2007

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