Bukit Batok resale flat buyer aghast at 14 holes in ceiling

ST Paper, 13 Aug 2016, Bukit Batok resale flat buyer aghast at 14 holes in ceiling
{Extract}

Ms Arip, 44, and her husband bought the four-room resale flat in Bukit Batok because they felt it was good value for money at $320,000.

But their happiness has been marred by the discovery of not one or two – but 14 – gaping holes in the ceiling board of their living room.

Ms Arip and her husband, a food and beverage manager, bought the unit at Block 509 in Bukit Batok Street 52 on June 28.

…………

An investigation found that the holes were probably created during the installation of the false ceiling by the past owner, said HDB.

“We have explained to the flat owner that these openings do not affect the structural stability or safety of the flat or the building,” it said.

Mr Rajan Supramaniam, a lawyer at Hilborne Law LLC, said that before buying a resale flat, valuation and inspection of the unit have to be done, and it is the buyer’s responsibility to do them properly. But he noted that, in this case, the ceiling was covered and the owner might not have seen it.

“If she had known about the defect during the valuation and inspection stage, then she could have asked the previous owner to absorb the costs,” he said, adding that HDB does not have to pay for repair of the holes, unless they make the building structurally unsound.

“If it’s a new flat such as a Build-To-Order one, and the problem concerns the workmanship, then HDB will bear responsibility,” he noted. “But if it’s a resale flat, and the defect is cosmetic and within the confines of the unit, then it would just become part of the buyer’s renovation costs.”

The “lemon law”, which protects consumers against defective goods, does not apply here, said Consumers Association of Singapore executive director Seah Seng Choon, as it does not apply to property.

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