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10 August 2012

10th August, Friday




HDB resale policy has weeded out speculators

Source: The Straits Times

As recently as five years ago, private-property owners were snapping up resale Housing Board flats at market rates, making up 10 per cent of yearly resale transactions.

But tightened policies have cut the number of such transactions to just 3 per cent in the first six months of this year, going by fresh data from the Housing Board.

This means those going after resale units are now genuine downgraders who have either cashed out amid a property boom, or want to move to live closer their children, analysts said.

They added, however, that the trend has had little impact on resale prices because of their small numbers.


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Flat-owner sues HDB for acquiring flat

Source: The Straits Times

The owner of a five-room flat in Bukit Batok has made the unprecedented move of taking the Housing Board (HDB) to court over its acquisition of his flat for alleged illegal subletting.

The landmark case turns on this question: Do the courts have the power to review a decision by the HDB?

The Housing & Development Act suggests the answer is no, as it makes final the decision of the minister to reject an appeal and compulsorily acquire a flat.

The owner who is about to get married, bought the flat on the resale market for $480,000 in 2010.

In February last year, he let out one room; the HDB, shown the tenancy agreement, approved the move.

The following month, he rented out a second room to a Taiwanese man whose child, a minor, was attending school here. This tenancy was also approved.

He denies renting out the whole flat, and says he kept the third room for his use. He says he made several appeals to the HDB against the acquisition, and went to his MP for help. When all this failed, he sought court action.

At issue is whether there must be continuous physical occupation of the flat, and whether the owner can be said to have abandoned his interest in the flat and wholly sublet it illegally.

The HDB on Wednesday declined to comment. Its lawyers from Allen & Gledhill are expected to file defence papers in due course. A High Court hearing is due this month.


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