Thursday, 28 May 2015

[Straits Times] Residents at mercy of errant developers

I AGREE with Ms Pearlyn Lee Mei Chun ("Home buyers need more protection"; last Friday).
I received the keys to my executive condominium (EC) last year, and was appalled to find the estate very much a construction site.
There was water leakage everywhere - water gushed out of door bells and dripped down through the corridor lights - dozens of cracks and potholes in the carpark, and numerous flammable materials and debris being stored in the carpark.
We also discovered that several promised common area amenities were not there, or were greatly reduced in size.
There were very substantial changes to the original building plans, which we were not informed of.
We lodged complaints with various government authorities, but they advised us to deal with the developer.
As the developer was avoiding us, we sought the help of our MP to arrange a meeting.
We had a meeting with the developer, who claimed that it was at its discretion to change the plans. There was no way for us to seek recourse. However, it promised to deal with the defects, and offered minor gestures of goodwill.
To date, we have had many meetings, but the problems are still there. The water leaks are still happening. There are frequent electrical trips, and a piece of concrete even fell from the upper floors and landed on the ground floor unit.
The defects liability period is now over, and most of the workers have been moved to new projects.
The developer seems to have washed its hands of the estate and moved on to its next project to make more profits. There is no danger of repercussion. It knows that EC owners have shallow pockets, and will not have the means to commence a civil suit.
This is not an isolated problem. It seems to be very common in many ECs built by errant developers.
Perhaps all these owners should join forces to take collective action against the developer, or the Government should step in to find a better solution.
Jenny Lim Mui Yin (Ms)