Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Couple sue developer over home defects

A COUPLE have sued a unit of property developer Kheng Leong, claiming the apartment the firm delivered to them was unfit for occupation.

Mr Benson Tan and his wife Amelia, who bought a unit at Oasis Garden condominium, have sued Peak Homes Development, seeking compensation for various costs, such as the rental for another house while the unit was being repaired and the moving charges involved.

They are claiming $12,146.73 in direct losses, plus interest as well as unspecified damages for being sold a unit unfit for habitation at the time of delivery, including for the alleged distress and inconvenience they suffered.

The case got under way in the Subordinate Courts yesterday.

In the suit, the couple claimed they found several defects when the apartment was first inspected after the keys were collected from the developer.

The couple bought the 1,519 sq ft three-bedroom unit for $1.08 million in October 2007.

The Tans, represented by lawyer P. Padman of KSCGP Juris, told the court yesterday that when the ground-floor unit was handed over in November 2009, it was in an 'uninhabitable' state.

According to court documents, substantial defects were present throughout the apartment, including plumbing, flooring and carpentry problems.

Mr Tan said the couple were forced to rent another home for six months while extensive repair work was carried out by Peak Homes' contractors.

The apartment, currently occupied by Mr Tan and his wife, is among 134 units at Oasis Garden, located in Jalan Bunga Rampai, off Upper Paya Lebar Road.

Peak Homes, through its lawyer Melvin Lum of WongPartnership, responded in a court-filed document, claiming the couple were unrealistic in their demands.

The couple's expectations, it said, far exceeded the industry standards laid out in the Building and Construction Authority's guidelines.

Peak Homes has argued that most of the defects set out by the couple were minor ones, consisting mostly of stains. They said these would not have rendered the unit unsafe or impossible to occupy.

The firm argued that it had carried out the work to rectify the defects and covered the costs.

It added that on top of these rectifications, the couple had asked Peak Homes' main contractor to carry out more renovation and upgrading work on their unit.

This is not the first time a developer has been sued by residents. Last month, residents of Emery Point, a project in Tanjong Katong, sued City Developments, the main contractor, five sub-contractors and the architect over numerous building defects.

The case was ultimately resolved amicably out of court.

The Kheng Leong group has real estate developments across the region in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Australia.

Its projects here include the 1,145-unit The Minton in Lorong Ah Soo.

The hearing is expected to continue on May 11.

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