Grangeford sub-tenants were in danger of having power cut off

A new twist has emerged in the ongoing saga at The Grangeford. TODAY has learnt that more than 200 sub-tenants at the condominium in Leonie Hill were in danger of having their power cut off because former master tenant Ideal Accommodation did not pay the electricity bill.

Utility firm SP Services had sent Ideal a letter on June 5, seeking arrears amounting to nearly S$130,000. It had to pay up by last Saturday or face power cuts, the letter said. It is not known if Ideal had settled their accounts with SP Services as the firm could not be contacted for a response.

Now, building owner Cove Development is stepping in to help remedy the situation. In a statement on Monday, Cove said it had applied to SP to open new accounts for all the units at The Grangeford previously leased to Ideal.

This was done so that the sub-tenants – a mix of mostly young expatriate and local professionals, as well as college students – did not have to face any power disruptions. However, they will have to pay Cove for utilities consumed from Saturday.

Property consultant Savill Singapore will be collecting and issuing receipts of payment on behalf of Cove. The landlord declined to comment on the arrears owed to SP Services by Ideal.

Ideal, set up by Chinese citizen Tang Yong, made headlines on June 3 after Cove terminated its two-year lease after just five months. This was after Ideal failed to comply with an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) order to reinstate the property to its originally planned use and cease unauthorised sub-letting.

Without the approval of the URA, Ideal had sub-divided 141 apartments at The Grangeford into 600 units. These were then individually leased to the sub-tenants as though the property was a boarding house or a hostel.

The failure of Ideal to comply with the URA order meant that the sub-tenants have until the end of the month to move out or sign a new and costlier lease with Cove.

To help the sub-tenants cope, Cove said it would not charge rent from June 3 to June 30. However, a sub-tenant – who declined to be named – told TODAY that yesterday’s development was “confusing”.

“We previously paid our utilities to Ideal through our deposits. I’m still waiting for word on a return of our deposits, but now we hear about this,” said the 35-year-old, who moved into the condominium just last month.

“How is Cove going to bill us – especially when we don’t have a tenancy agreement with them?” he asked

TODAY understands that there is a meter that records the amount of power used for each “sub-unit”. Cove will charge the former sub-tenants of Ideal based on the reading. Letters were sent to update residents of the situation last Saturday, said a Cove spokesperson.

In the meantime, “as the owner of Grangeford, Cove will ultimately be responsible to recover the property effectively and rectify the infringement of the Planning Act,” the URA said.

Cove said it would be carrying out work to remove the unauthorised structures and restore the units to their original layouts. Under the URA order, it has until July 27 to do so.

Source : Today – 16 Jun 2009

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