Industry weighs new en bloc rules

Players note changes protect minority owners, improve sales proceedings.

Changes to regulations governing collective property sales — which take effect today — favour the minority owners, said lawyers and property experts at an en bloc property seminar yesterday.

They could get a higher sales price if their objections to the sale are valid, while the provision for a change of mind following the signing of the collective agreement is generous, they said. Lawyer Sim Bock Eng from Wong Partnership said: “This five-day cooling-off period excludes weekends and public holidays, allowing minority owners to review their decision and alleviate any pressure.”

The event comes at a time when the en bloc frenzy shows little sign of easing despite government measures.

Referring to reports of souring relationships, Mr Chan Kok Hong, CKH Strata Management managing director, said: “Director Royston Tan can make a movie from this.”

Ms Sim said the raft of requirements for setting up a sales committee protects minority owners. Before the changes, a one-man committee could be set up; now, at least three owners are needed. And members of the committee have to be elected at a general meeting and must declare any relationships with developers, marketing agent or legal firms that might incur a possible conflict of interest.

The new provisions also improve en bloc proceedings, which typically take 31 months to complete, noted Mr Chan.

Meanwhile, the Law Ministry has advised that ongoing en bloc sales without a majority of owners’ consent — 80-per-cent (for developments 10 years old or older) or 90-per-cent (below 10 years old) — have to comply with the new provisions. Those with the majority consent are exempted.

Source : Today – 4 Oct 2007

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