Sunday, 13 September 2009

And So it Continues...

It is strange that there is still discussion of En Bloc in Pandan Valley, especially considering the ongoing recession. There was an interesting and telling article in the Straits Times a few days ago, you can find it at this website:

But more to the point, on Pandan Valley itself: most residents cannot imagine living anywhere better, last June ST even identified Pandan Valley as one of Singapore's architectural landmarks (see article linked to the picture under "Our Home") and yet some amongst us are still persevering towards a collective sale.

The question in this regard is not why they are doing so, they must have their reasons, however justified or not. The real question is, where are the people who want to stay? Why are our voices not heard more? Why do so few of us attend the Collective Sale EOGMs? Why does no one query the exorbitant cost of organising EOGMs in the first place?

There is going to be another EOGM at the end of this month. While one does not need to assist the 30% quorum being reached for the meeting to begin - if the meeting goes ahead anyway, those who care should attend to ensure that their interests are recorded, and voices heard. And most importantly, to make sure that the Collective Sales Committee understands that they have a legal duty to act in good faith for all our interests. It is not just the interests of those who wish to sell that the CSC is duty-bound to represent. They need to be made aware of this, and made aware that there are many amongst us who will ensure that they are held to this duty.

In the mean time - the stayers should support the Management Council and their endeavours. They work to make Pandan Valley a better place for all of us, and should be encouraged in this work.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Supreme Court Rules for the Minority - The Horizon Towers Judgement

You may have seen the good news earlier this month where the Supreme Court decided in favour of minority owners in a disputed en bloc sale, at Horizon Towers. Industry experts are hailing the decision as a landmark judgment that will set clear parameters for en bloc deals.

The full Judgement is available at the url below and for those with the time we strongly recommend that you read it, particularly pages 75-91 on the Duties of the Sales Committee:

Key Points
  • Justice Rajah said that the sales committee (SC) did not fulfil its duty because it did not secure the best price obtainable for the property.

  • He spelled out the court’s view of an SC’s duties. Among other things, an SC is expected to follow up all expressions of interest and offers, and carry out sufficient investigations and due diligence to determine their genuineness.

  • An SC is also tasked with creating competition between interested purchasers and ‘waiting for the most propitious timing for the sale in order to obtain the best price’.

  • Justice Rajah also pointed out that a primary objective of the collective sale scheme was to promote the rejuvenation of older estates and the optimal use of prime land to build more quality housing in land-scarce Singapore. But now, the lure of ‘windfall profits’ has been a siren song for many (especially absent landlords and speculators), to the detriment of those who do not want to lose their homes at any price’.

  • As the SC is an agent of the subsidiary proprietors collectively, there is no point in which the SC may act solely in the interests of any group of subsidiary proprietors, whether they are consenting or objecting proprietors. When an SC is first appointed, it is with a view to achieving a collective sale for the benifit of all subsidiary proprietors.

  • There would naturally be an inbuilt inclination (or bias) on the part of an SC to sell rather than not to sell. The need for the imposition of high standards of accountability and conduct upon the SC vis-a-vis not only the consenting, but also the objecting subsidiary proprietors is therefore even more pressing than in the case of ordinary common law agency.

  • An SC cannot rely on a mechanistic or literal compliance with its statutory and contractual obligations to escape indictment for breach of its obligations as fiduciary of the subsidiary proprietors. This will no doubt go beyond paying lip service to the relevant procedural rules under the LTSA and its mandate under the collective sale agreement.

We will not provide an analysis of what this means as it is quite self-explanatory. In a nutshell, for Stayers it is a great judgement from Singapore's highest court. Please do contact us if you have any comments or queries on this matter.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

More than a Home

Pandan Valley for many of us has been home for 20 years and more.

The memories we share cannot be explained and need not be justified to people who have only moved in recently. Those who seek great fortune by making their quick buck through a collective sale would dismiss these legitimate feelings as silly nostalgia...but consider the following, are these silly nostalgia too?:
  • Pandan Valley is one of the largest condominium complexes in Singapore.

  • It is unique in its greenery and preservation of the natural environment - carefully planned architecture ensured that the natural valleys were not destroyed and that the apartments and facilities were created within and around them. In a concrete jungle - it is truly our very own patch of green.

  • Apartment sizes are unusually large when compared to many of the new developments. Most new flats are cramped with little living space. As the oldest conominium in Singapore, Pandan Valley had no space constraints - we thus live in large, airy and well-lit units, with attached balconies and/or small gardens.

  • We are in a safe middle-class neighbourhood that is not congested with high-rise developments. We have easy access to almost everything important: good schools, NUS, polytechnics, ITE, One North, healthcare institutions (hospitals, polyclinics, dental clinics), markets (Farrer, Ghim Moh, Holland Village, Clementi, Bukit Timah), supermarkets, as well as high-end and low-end eating places. Taxis and buses easily available along the main road, a short bus ride takes you to the Clementi MRT, Dover MRT is walking distance. Orchard Road is only 10 minutes away by car. To say we are well-located would be an understatement.

  • Any 'profit' made through collective sale could never guarantee us a similarly large or well-located apartment. This is simply fact. Property prices in this holland-ulu pandan area have risen considerably since most of us moved in here. At the same time, average apartment sizes have shrunk. For more money we will thus only get considerably less.

  • Laurels Supermarket and Kodak Film Shop have been amongst us for as long as most of us can remember. These small family-owned enterprises depend on PV for their entire livelihood. As they have watched us grow and change, so have we watched them. They are part of the PV family and will be equally affected by a collective sale.