Monday, June 15, 2009

Firm Has Partitioned Units At Several Sites

Source : The Straits Times, June 12, 2009

IDEAL Accommodation, which was behind the unauthorised refurbishment of The Grangeford condominium, is renting out partitioned apartments in at least five other developments, checks by The Straits Times found.

One is Holland Crest, a development which was sold in a collective sale in 2007 to BBR Group.

Residents moved out last year, and Ideal moved in to lease the empty apartments to tenants.

At least two blocks on the grounds - blocks 19 and 21 - have partitioned units on every floor.

Residents, who are expatriates, students and long-term tourists, say they pay about $1,800 per partitioned unit per month.

At Dalvey Court, off Stevens Road, a walk-up apartment complex which had nine units originally, each apartment has been partitioned into three or four units.

One studio unit - with a master bedroom and balcony - was going for $1,300.

Some partitioned units were also found at Moonstone Apartments near Serangoon Road, No. 8 Kim Keat Road and No. 144 Race Course Road.

Ideal was the master tenant of The Grangeford condominium in Leonie Hill Road but was booted out by the owner of the property after it failed to comply with an order by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to remove and restore its 600 partitioned rooms.

Tenants were told of the URA order very late, leaving them little time to clear out.

A check on the company under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority shows that the two directors in charge are Mr Tang Yong, a Singapore PR, and Ms Tang Xuemei, a Chinese national.

The company, started in 2004, has $170,000 in capital.

Mr Tang Yong was uncontactable for a response.

URA would say only that it is 'already following up on the feedback received on residential properties managed by Ideal Accommodation'.

When partitioning of apartments is illegal

AN URBAN Redevelopment Authority (URA) spokesman said adding partitions inside homes for family use is not illegal but letting out the partitioned units to multiple tenants, so that it becomes a dormitory, hostel or boarding house, is.

'Residences with such unauthorised uses cause disamenity and inconvenience to residents and pose public safety concerns,' said its spokesman. For instance, People's Park Centre resident Don Kok, 30, said some owners partition their kitchens to rent out, blocking off the common rubbish chute.

URA said unauthorised additions and alterations to apartments must be demolished and its use reverted to being a single dwelling.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) also acts against such illegal partitioning.

It issued 527 notices last year and 264 notices between January and April for unauthorised conversions to workers' quarters. Partitioning a dorm could compromise fire safety and it requires SCDF approval.

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