Saturday, June 6, 2009

Grangeford Condo Eviction - Torn Between 2 'Landlords'

Source : The Straits Times, June 5, 2009

Firms dispute property; residents await deposit returns, move-out date

THE owner and master tenant of an illegally refurbished condominium are now tussling over who the rightful landlord is of the property, leaving 200 residents wondering when they have to move out and what will become of their security deposits.

A Grangeford tenant, who wished to be known only as Joy, expressing her frustrations at a meeting held last night with property owners Cove Developments. -- ST PHOTO: SHAHRIYA YAHAYA

At separate meetings with residents on Thursday, both parties gave them different dates to move out of The Grangeford in Leonie Hill.

The master tenant, Ideal Accommodation, which had carried out the renovations and rented out the rooms, said they could move out by the end of this month, while property owner Cove Development has given them till June 14.

Tenants do not know who to believe, but noted that they have a legal contract with Ideal, and not with Cove.

They were asked to go after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) discovered that Ideal had illegally partitioned apartments in the condo - sold en bloc in 2007 - to create 600 sub-units from 140 units.

URA told Ideal on April 29 to tear down the partitions by Wednesday, but most tenants were told only on Sunday, giving them three days to clear out.

On Wednesday, Cove Development, a unit of Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE), terminated Ideal's two-year lease and gained an extension from the URA till July 27 to remove the partitions.

But yesterday, in its first meeting with tenants in a week, Ideal said that its contracts with tenants still stand, and so does its lease agreement with Cove.

A representative, who identified himself as Mr Lee, said to the crowd: 'We don't care what Cove says.'

In response, Mr Steven Ngai, company secretary for OUE, told The Straits Times: 'If the tenants want to listen to Ideal and get cheated, don't blame Cove.'

Read the full story in Friday's edition of The Straits Times.

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