Sentosa Cove condo developer sued over ‘defects’

Angered by what they allege to be “defects” on their property – which include termite-infested pool decking, flooded staircases in common areas and incorrectly-installed electrical fittings – 108 owners of an upscale condominium on Sentosa Cove have taken property developer Ho Bee Investment and three contractors to court.

Ho Bee has denied some of the claims, said its Executive Director Desmond Woon. “We’re looking into the matter. The amount they are suing us for is not quantified yet. It’s very common to claim for defects… some claims are natural wear and tear; it’s not just the termites,” he said.

The property managers of The Coast filed papers in the High Court on July 31.

Ho Bee is represented by Mr Ling Tien Wah of Rodyk & Davidson while the homeowners are represented by Mr Edwin Lee of Eldan Law.

Court documents showed that the contractors being sued are Kim Seng Heng Engineering Construction, Architects 61 and Bescon Consulting Engineers.

Completed in April 2009, The Coast boasts 249 units of three- and four-bedroom apartments as well as luxury penthouses, 41 private berthing facilities and views of the South China Sea. It is one of Ho Bee’s five developments on the exclusive enclave of Sentosa Cove.

According to Bloomberg, Ho Bee has blamed the defects on the management corporation’s negligence and the developer said in its filings to the court that the responsibility for maintenance was handed over to the management committee in December 2010.

Residents TODAY spoke to detailed some of the alleged problems with the property.

One resident leasing a unit there, who declined to be named, claimed there were “a lot of cracks on the ceilings and walls, especially the floors”.

A 49-year-old executive who wished to be known as Jeff, and who is part of the lawsuit, said that the management committee had hired experts to assess damages to the electrical cabling system and cracks in the walls.

Damage repairs, he claimed, would amount to S$6,000 to S$12,000 per unit.

Mr Jeff, who bought his property directly from the developer about five years ago, said most owners in the lawsuit did not want any impact on the price of their property.

They voted to take the case to court without asking for a specific quantum of damages as they “only want (the developer) to fix the problems”, he added.

Ho Bee is a major developer on Sentosa Cove, with several condominium projects under its name. The residential enclave has attracted the rich and famous over the years.

In July, the Business Times reported that a company linked to Ms Gina Rinehart, Asia’s richest woman according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, bought two apartments on the island for S$57.2 million.

According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s records, two transactions were recorded on the property this year – a 3,100 square-foot unit fetched S$4.5 million in July, while a 2,024 square-foot apartment went for S$3.6 million in April.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 10 Sep 2013

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