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Thread: 140-unit estate sold but one won't move

  1. #1
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    Default 140-unit estate sold but one won't move

    June 4, 2007

    140-unit estate sold but one won't move

    Buyer City Developments planning legal action against 63-year-old who is uncontactable now

    By Carolyn Quek



    Mr Chan Kin Foo busted the original mid-May deadline - and an extension to May 25 - to move out of Lock Cho Apartments. -- ST


    HE WAS the last one left in the 140-unit private estate, and property developer City Developments (CDL) - which bought over Lock Cho Apartments - wants to take legal action against him.

    Mr Chan Kin Foo busted the original mid-May deadline - and an extension to May 25 - to move out of the estate at Jalan Raja Udang in Balestier.

    Mr Chan, 63, however, is uncontactable now.

    CDL said this is putting a strain on its redevelopment work. 'Any further delay will result in an increase in our holding costs and an undue delay in executing redevelopment,' said a CDL spokesman.

    This is the second time in three months in which a property developer decided to take ex-owners to court for refusing to move out of their home after it was sold en bloc.

    The first was in April - when a family of four refused to leave their unit at Lincolnsvale estate in Surrey Road, which was bought over by Sim Lian Land.

    Lock Cho Apartments consists of two blocks of walk-up apartments and two blocks of high-rise units. The site was purchased in a collective sale with two other neighbouring sites - Comfort Mansion and an eight-unit apartment - on March 31 last year for $156.3 million.

    Mr Chan and three other owners did not sign the collective sale agreement.

    This sale was subject to the approval of the Strata Titles Board (STB), which was given on Nov 14 last year. CDL has paid out the sale amount in full.

    Late last month, The Straits Times was able to speak to Mr Chan, who said he lived alone in his unit.

    He had said he did not agree to the sale because he felt his walk-up apartment deserved more money than the apartments in the high-rise blocks.

    According to Credo Real Estate, which handled the sale, Mr Chan received about $900,000.

    Other residents received from $840,000 to $1.3 million, which is 60 to 90 per cent of their current market prices, Credo said.

    Residents were also told to vacate by May 13, which they all did, except for Mr Chan.

    He continued to return to his apartment - his home for the past 30 years - even though he was now trespassing.

    He was finally barred from entering the premises - and his apartment - at about 2am on May 24 by the estate security guard.

    Since then, he has not returned or contacted CDL.

    The developer extended its deadline to May 25 for him to at least contact it for the handing over of his keys, which he did not do.

    'We are left with no choice but to refer this matter to our solicitors,' said its spokesman.

    CDL said it had sent adequate legal notices to inform Mr Chan that he had to leave and hand over his keys.

    The law firm that handled the Lock Cho Apartments sale, Rodyk & Davidson, said that Mr Chan was a 'passive objector' to the sale: He did not sign the sale agreement or file an objection before the STB when he could do so.

    The law firm said it had sent letters to persuade Mr Chan to sign title transfer documents but he failed to do so.

    Further notices were sent informing him that it would be seeking an STB order to appoint a representative to sign the documents on his behalf. The law firm received no word from him and it went ahead with this move.

    On Oct 23 last year, the STB authorised a representative to sign the documents for Mr Chan and the $900,000 from his unit was 'paid into the High Court', in accordance with the Strata Titles Act.

    According to a property lawyer that The Straits Times spoke to, a possible legal action CDL might be taking is an eviction order to dispossess Mr Chan from the unit.

    Mr Chan could also be liable for damages in the form of bank interest chalked up by CDL due to the delay.

    [email protected]

    ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LESLIE GOH

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 140-unit estate sold but one won't move

    This Mr Chan thinks he is a hero. But the sad fact that he could be facing legal action and damages amounting to more than 10 times the enbloc value of his unit.

  3. #3
    DrMinority
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    Default Re: 140-unit estate sold but one won't move

    I don't think Mr Chan thinks himself a hero. He is simply not aware of the consequences of the enbloc sale, and in particular, that he need not sign any release of his flat, for his flat to be taken away by the STB (forcibly) due to the nature of the collective sale.

    Imagine this: Chances are that the letters from the law firm are all (a) in English (b) in legal terms (c) Mr Chan probably can't read well in English, much less legal terms. Chances are he thought, without anyone duly informing him so, that if he stays in his own castle, he can retain ownership of it. Unfortunately, he did not know that they can force him out of his own castle and take away his title deeds, all without a single signature.

    There are people like Mr Chan in estates undergoing enbloc, who are not aware of their individual rights and the consequences of their not signing, not moving, not speaking, hoping that the nightmare will go away.

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