Friday, April 20, 2007

"Oops, my neighbors sold my home...!"

This is probably one of those uniquely Singaporean experiences. You wake up one morning and found out that all your neighbors are moving out at the same time. Then some stranger turns up at your apartment representing one of the big developers telling you that your apartment has been sold. You tell him that you have not been informed and have not signed a single document to sell your home. The stranger tells you it doesn't matter your neighbors have decided to sell and you have been sold out!....It used to be only theoretical that such situations can arise given that it is only basic courtesy that your neighbor informs you that you need to move out but the fear that you might put some kind unless legal impediment between them and their $1M dollars can cause people to conspire against you.
Many years ago en bloc sales of condominiums required all the unit owners to agree to the sale. A number of such a sales were stopped by a single owner refusing to sell, putting a roadblock between other owners+developers and the big profits. There are many reasons why a person would refuse to sell his home among them sentimental value (sweet memories etc), rental income and the belief that it is worth more. The govt fixed this by amending the law to allow such sales to go through as long as the majority of owners agree to the sale. Now your neighbor can sell your house ...sometimes without you knowing!


Anonymous said...

actually i read this with mixed feelings. firstly, i'm glad to know that even upper-middle income sporeans are trampled and screwed by our gabramen in the pursuit of $$$ and progress (how apt and in line with with their sense of greed).

secondly, yes, in stinkapore, there are NO civil rights unless you're an elite or miw.

i wonder which class of stinkaporeans will get screwed next...

Anonymous said...

who will be screwed next? tax payers / GST payers who cannot use the C wards.

Anonymous said...

This really how how our civil rights are really really first class, compared to China Nail Houses. Fantastic progress we have.

LuckySingaporean said...

Sorry guys before you get too excited. Actually the Straits Times article itself is not too correct. The law requires:

Notices to be advertised in all major language papers. And the usual pratice is to notify minority share holders of the sale by registered post. However, the sale itself does not require all to agree.

I'll correct the post with a footnote when I get home from work today.

jokers in the house said...

what the heck....east the west will not just be on economic advantage but on INTANGIBLES...these include ...intellectual properties....IT competency...high education standard....diversity of cultures..nice living condition??? then millions and thrust them to come out with more money making INTENTIONABLES...MUAHAHAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

sorry for my ignorance - but i wonder which Ministry governs the laws on this?

I like to know if the Minister in charge has cockups like this as a KPI for his pay raise. or is it some middle manager who gets screwed for allowing something like this to happen?

Anonymous said...

Sorry. This is possible because all of us are just employees of the Inc. You do not own anything including your life here. You are just given the house like office. They can do whatever they like and we are not consulted on any laws that make here.

This case has clearly violated the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are finding out first hand what China peasants have been facing the past decade due to stellar economic growth - greedy developers colluding with state officials in "land grabs".

Anonymous said...

The really lucky Stinkaporeans live in HDB flats. Every 5 years or so, we get the exciting option to decide whether to build very practical and useful amphitheatres or not

Capt_Canuck said...

actually, the Singaporean way of doing this is so civilized and all that it is uncanny. I mean, here in North America, we have the same sort of deals where a land developer wants a certain parcel of land, they approach the different owners and will either go one of two routes. Either:

A) they will go to each land owner, give them a set price (say, $600,000) for their land/apartment and say that this is set in stone and will be theirs only if every single person agrees to sell by a set deadline. Gives loads of good times when one person holds out for the illusion of more money and the neighbours all go gang on them (write threatening notes, snub and shun the owners, leave little fire bags of dog doo on their porch..the usual friendly neighbour stuff).


B) they approach each person individually and buy the land separately. Problem with this is that the neighbours get really bitchy at each other when they find out that the first person got $50,000 for the house whereas the one person who held out at the end managed to wrangle a cool 3/4 million out of the company cause the company was desperate for the last remaining parcel.

So, as you can see, Singapore has the right idea. Make the law state that the majority rules and the minority gets screwed in the way of helping progress of profit and capitalism. No wonder your PM has nothing but bad things to say about our barbaric western ways.

Gerald said...

I don't know any of the parties involved, but I somehow suspect the article doesn't tell the whole story, and someone (or both parties) even, are witholding some vital information.

I mean, how can you be living in a condo for more than a year, but don't check your mail, don't look at the notice board, enter the lift and stare only at the floor, go into your house by the back door everyday (presumably they stuck a notice under your front door too), and not notice where all the neighbours and cars are gone.

I mean, that might be possible if you were overseas, but this family is living right in the very condo. Macham demolish the next door condo block they also don't know.

The alternative explanation of course, is that the developer never sent out the registered mails, never posted the notices, and never placed the ads in the papers.

I think the reporter should just have asked for evidence of the registered mail delivery advice, advertisments, etc. instead of writing an incomplete story.

LuckySingaporean said...


they are required to set up ads in major newspapers to info. everyone and the usual practice is to send registered letters to all. However, even if you don't want to sell and refuse to sign any documents, the sale goes ahead without your consent. I have not heard of any developed countries with such laws where you can be forced out of your home because your neighbor wants to make money.

Anonymous said...

sometimes you wondered about all these 'creative destruction' of the old in favor of the new(such as shopping centers, parks, homes etc)and for whatever justification imaginable. but in whose interests is it for really?

if you think about it, most don't question a win-win deal( so long as it's a win). in this case, the owners win are not conclusive. but even if it is, it will not come close to the developer's gain nor its associated businesses. even the gahmen is enriched everytime someone's home is destroyed and rebuild.

the unpleasant truth is, not all will gain because the system has been rigged to ensure the fittest, the strongest and the wealthiest will continue to reap exponentially from all these 'modern transformation'.

hence, if you look at the exterior changes( modernisation), it appears we have progressed towards first world status. but should we be particularly elated by this success when it is one that had exploited and fed on the weak and disadvantaged?

would those in power reveal the costs exacted on her people as a result?

and why would the beneficiaries of such a system of reward want to account for the destruction to lives, families and the communities?

thus, here lies the irony of progress and seeking the 'good life' isn't it?

Dr Minority said...

Re luckysingaporean's comments on laws governing notifying owners:-

Notices in 4 languages papers - small advertisement placed by marketing agent, typically in the business section of the papers. Easily missed.

Registered post - EVEN if the owner rejects the post (ie does not sign it), the law states that evidence that a registered post has been SENT is sufficient evidence that the owner has been notified.

So technically, if the family doesn't read the papers and rejected the reg post, doesn't read the notices on the condo's notice board (entirely possible), then it's quite possible they may not be aware. It's possible they thought, given that most people are not familiar with en bloc laws, that by refusing to sign any documentation, they can retain their home.

Our place has gone en bloc (much to my chagrin), and yes there are people moving out (before the legal completion), but in place, they have decided to rent out the property (must keep the money a comin') to new tenants who are usually unaware that they're staying in an estate that will quickly deteriorate in a few months' time!

Re Capt Canuck's comments - what you just described, the first scenario, is exactly what is happening here :) The 2nd scenario is happening but on a smaller scale.

Dr Minority -

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Anonymous said...

Did someone write that Singapore is in the First World? Must be smoking the same stuff as MM and some of his Ministers.

When you travel first class by SQ which refuses to pay it's staff (esp pilots) well and which finds itself curtailing its Loyalty Programme, as well as enjoy lots of unwritten VVIP perks, you lose sight of reality.

'bout time they got off their high horses, I mean step out of their Benzs, Beemers and Lexi and walked, took the mrt, caught buses and tried to hail taxis.

Anonymous said...

There are two sides to the en bloc issues. Both have their reasons.

The law had to balance the two opposing sides and although it is not perfect, some protection have been given to the minority - eg there would be NO financial loss. Yet, some minority would not want to sell at all. And if we allow the minority views to prevail, what about the interests of the majority of more than 80 pc of owners? After all, our politicians are elected on a simple majority and there is no proportionate representation in Parliament. Should this too be changed?

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