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Old 12-07-2003, 10:46 AM   #1
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HDB correspondence on public newsletters

well, i think it will be informative if we consolidate all the published newsletter concerning on HDB issues. let's start today onward. here's one...

Extract fm ST, 12 July 2003

Bigger resale flats, please

I REFER to the report, ' 'Downgraders' drive up HDB resale prices' (ST, July 2). While it is true that downgraders may have helped to push up the prices of three-room Housing Board resale flats, the main reason is the increasing number of singles above 35 who are eligible to buy these flats.

Two years ago, a resale three-room corner flat in Holland Village cost $168,000. Now that HDB has allowed singles to buy resale flats in inner-urban areas, prices have shot up to more than $200,000. Some sellers are taking advantage of the fact that singles are not allowed to purchase larger flats and are asking for between $230,000 and $265,000 for areas in Marine Parade and Holland Village.

Prices of resale three-room 'modified corner' flats are now comparable with those of some four-room models.

It is time for HDB to moderate the prices of resale three-room flats before they shoot up to unrealistic levels.

Those who bought resale five-room and executive apartments at peak prices of between $500,000 and $650,000 are now suffering paper losses of up to $200,000. HDB should not allow history to repeat itself.

The housing authority can help to ease the pressure on prices of three-room resale flats by lifting restrictions on the resale of four-room, five-room and executive apartments to singles.

This would benefit not only singles but also downgraders and sellers of the larger flats who now have difficulty selling their flats due to low demand for larger units. HDB has consistently maintained that its housing policy is pro-family and that it supports the Government's social policy on family formation and procreation.

However, statistics on marriages and birth rates published earlier this year by The Straits Times have clearly indicated that HDB's pro-family policy is no longer effective.

Birth rates have declined for the past 10 years and marriages have also not increased signi-ficantly.

There are about 10,000 new flats which have not been taken up. This is a clear indication that a new flat will no longer entice singles to get married. Those who may eventually get married at a late age have also admitted that they are unlikely to have kids.

Unlike the 6 to 9 per cent of our married population who can choose not to procreate, most singles do not choose to remain single by choice. Why should they be 'penalised'?

HDB has to understand that singles have their own problems and needs. Just like their married counterparts, singles also require their own space and privacy. When one can afford to buy a bigger flat but not a private apartment, one should not be confined to a three-room resale flat.

Yes, I think no one will dispute that society should remain pro-family. However, this does not necessarily mean that singles should be discriminated against in public housing.

Pro-family policies should focus on giving fiscal incentives for marriages and procreation, without taking anything away from singles. Schemes like the baby bonus, tax relief for the third and fourth child and subsidies for childcare are some of the creative ways to boost family formation.

How can one be rooted here when the Government continues to discriminate against singles and does not allow them to buy a new flat direct from HDB, or to own a bigger resale flat? Singles cannot have a sense of belonging or passion for this country if they are not treated equally.

As Singapore seeks new ways to remake itself, the Govern-ment must recognise the aspiration and need of singles to own bigger homes. Singles should not be perceived as second-class citizens whose only means of getting round the discriminatory housing policy is to get married.

CHEW CHEE MENG
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Old 16-07-2003, 10:01 AM   #2
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From ST 16 July 2003

When upgrading is a dirty word

Permanent residents are likely to up and leave when they hear of HDB upgrading plans as their upgrading bill is much higher than their S'porean neighbours'. TAN HUI YEE reports

MOST Housing Board home owners are thrilled to learn of upgrading plans for their estate. But not permanent residents (PRs).

In fact, this group, which three years ago made up less than 4 per cent of total HDB home owners, is likely to start moving out the minute they get wind of such news.

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They want to avoid paying hefty upgrading charges and a 10 per cent levy which the HDB will impose on the sale price.

'Their relocation is something quite guaranteed,' said Mr Anthony Ng, 33, an agent with RealStar Property.

According to six property agents The Straits Times spoke to, PRs try to sell their flat early to avoid the upgrading bill.

Depending on the type of work done, this can be up to 14 times what a Singapore citizen pays.

To make matters worse, PRs are not entitled to vote during upgrading exercises which means they have little say in the process.

And once three-quarters of the residents involved say aye to the upgrading move, PRs will have to pay a 10 per cent levy on the sale price of their flat even if they sell it before they are billed for upgrading.

This levy also applies to Singapore citizens who had previously owned a flat which had been upgraded.

These rules were introduced in 1996 at the height of the property boom to curb speculation and remove the subsidies for non-citizens.


After the completion of the main upgrading programme, HDB homes generally fetch $15,000 to $20,000 more in the open market.

But such price increases mean little to the PRs.

This is because the value of their flat tends to rise by an amount roughly equivalent to what their Singaporean neighbours pay for upgrading - which sometimes can be less than a tenth of what PRs actually fork out.

If a Singapore citizen has to pay $20,000 in upgrading costs for his $200,000 home, flats in the block will be valued at about $220,000 after upgrading.

A Singapore PR who paid $70,000 and wants to sell his flat at $270,000 to recoup upgrading costs is unlikely to find a buyer.

If the owner wishes to avoid paying the 10 per cent levy, he can choose to sell the flat back to the HDB.

However, the HDB will pay a price equivalent only to either the flat's market value at the date of the successful upgrading poll, or its prevailing market value, whichever is lower.

There were an estimated 29,000 PR households living in HDB flats in the year 2000.

One PR recently caught in a bind is construction project manager Barry Ho.

Until January this year, the 40-year-old Malaysian citizen was living in a four-room Bedok South flat with his wife and three young children.

In the 10 years that they were there, they had grown close to their neighbours, and Mr Ho had also become an active member of Bedok Orchid Residents' Committee.

But last year, he was told that he would have to pay an estimated $70,000 compared to his neighbours' $20,000 for his block to be upgraded.

Mr Ho decided to move out.

'It's too high a price to pay for me... A house is not just a place to live in, it's a form of investment. To throw away $50,000, that is a lot of blood and sweat money,' said Mr Ho.

He and his family have since moved to a five-room flat two bus stops down the road.

When contacted, the HDB said: 'The main upgrading programme is heavily subsidised by the Government.

'Thus, only Singaporean citizens are eligible to vote for the upgrading programme and receive a subsidy on the upgrading cost.'

The board said PRs who cannot pay the full upgrading cost can choose to pay by monthly instalments over a period of either five or 10 years, at its market interest rate. HDB's current rate is 3.5 per cent per annum.

Those in financial hardship, it added, can also seek to extend or defer their repayment period.
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Old 19-07-2003, 12:59 PM   #3
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this maybe revelant for those looking for new flats near Buangkok Mrt Station in the near future... :rolleyes:

From ST 19 July 2003

Buangkok Station Debate
When housing demand picks up... HDB priority is to build flats in area

By CHRISTOPHER TAN and DIANA SER

WHEN the demand for public housing picks up, priority will go to building flats around the Buangkok train station, which remains closed for now because there are too few residents in the area.

Giving residents of the area this assurance, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan yesterday said: 'We have started building some flats there already... We hope to do some more this year and I am asking HDB to make sure they are built around Buangkok station. In this way, we can bring more people to the station a bit earlier.'

Buangkok station has not been opened because SBS Transit believes it will not attract enough passengers.

Among the reasons it has cited is that there are 'only seven blocks of flats' near the station and they are 600m south of it.

It has also said that it would not be worth its while to open the station because people were loath to walk more than 400m to an MRT station. It based this assumption on its experience as a bus operator.

But a survey by rival rail operator SMRT Corporation shows that many Singaporeans walk 10 to 15 minutes to a train station.

Based on a healthy adult's normal walking speed of 3.5kmh, this translates to a distance between 580m and 870m.

The finding was part of a customer satisfaction survey conducted late last year by SMRT, which operates a subway network of 51 stations.

The survey covered 1,100 respondents, and found that 65 per cent of them walked to a station from home.

Mr Charles Chong, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC who has been lobbying for SBS Transit to open Buangkok station, said he is sure there are more than seven blocks within a 600m radius of the station.

In fact, Block 443 is just about 380m from the station, he said. His grassroots leaders have actually measured the distance, he added.

However, SBS Transit said the difference in distance is 'not very significant'.

It added: 'We believe that the distance, in particular, being exposed to the elements without any shelter, is one which few people are likely to walk every day.'

But Mr Chong is hoping that a survey of close to 2,000 residents in the area conducted by his grassroots leaders will prove otherwise.

Although its results are not yet ready, preliminary findings show an 'overwhelming' percentage of respondents saying they would use the station if it was opened, he said.

Not convinced by the operator's explanations, some readers have also pointed out that there are many stations with low ridership which are nevertheless open, including Dover station that serves Singapore Polytechnic, Marina Bay station, Clarke Quay station, and Expo station in Changi.

Urging SBS to reconsider, bank officer Lim Beng Chong, 31, wrote in an e-mail message that under the current weak economic environment, the authorities 'have really underestimated the residents' willingness to walk an extra distance in order to save on expenses'.
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Old 21-07-2003, 05:55 PM   #4
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From ST, 21 July 2003

Singles can buy bigger HDB flats with others

I REFER to Mr Chew Chee Meng's letter, 'Ease 3-room flat prices, allow singles to buy... Bigger resale flats, please' (ST, July 12).

Our public housing policy is pro-family in orientation. As a general policy, flat applicants have to form a family nucleus to qualify for the purchase of new and resale Housing Board flats. Single citizens are a part of the family unit and are encouraged to stay with their parents for mutual care and support.

Nevertheless, the Government recognises that some older Singaporeans who remain single may prefer to live on their own. Under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, single citizens aged 35 years and above can buy a three-room or smaller resale HDB flat in which to stay on their own.

A three-room flat can be as large as 70sq m. This is two to three times the national average of 24sq m of living space per person, and is more than adequate for a single person. To ensure optimal use of scarce land resources in Singapore, four-room and bigger flats are meant for family-based households comprising at least two persons. Singles who wish to buy bigger flats can do so jointly with other eligible singles under the Joint Singles Scheme.

Mr Chew also commented that the HDB should moderate the prices of three-room resale flats. Resale HDB flats are transacted in the open market on a willing buyer and willing seller basis.

Those in popular locations such as Holland Village would tend to fetch higher prices, but there is a wide range of three-room flats in different locations and at different prices for buyers to select from, according to their financial means. With about 220,000 three-room flats in Singapore, there is no shortage of these flats.

The HDB will continue to review its housing policies for singles regularly to ensure that they remain relevant and fair.


LEONG CHOK KEH
Deputy Director
Policy and Property
for Director
Estate Administration and Property
Housing and Development Board
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Old 21-07-2003, 05:57 PM   #5
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another one...

From St, 21 July 2003

More want 3-room homes

I REFER to the letter, 'Ease 3-room flat prices, allow singles to buy... Bigger resale flats, please' (ST, July 12), by Mr Chew Chee Meng.

I am sure that there are many singles, like Mr Chew and myself, who are frustrated with the HDB's policy regarding the flats that singles can buy.

There is a limited supply of three-room flats as they are no longer being built. And in this economic downturn, demand for these flats has gone up as many are switching to smaller homes.

Singles who value their independence and want to live on their own are not avoiding their responsibility towards their parents. On the contrary, it is often singles who take care of them.

I look after my elderly parents and have been searching for a three-room unit in Holland Village to be near them.

There is an extremely high demand for three-room flats in this vicinity, and sellers are asking ridiculously high prices for them.

I responded to a recent advertisement and was shocked to learn that the owner wanted $305,000 for his upgraded three-room flat.

It is time that Singapore citizens be given due recognition for the contributions they make, regardless of their marital status. I hope the Government will make it easier for singles to have their own space.


CHIA SHYH CHIUAN
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Old 22-07-2003, 03:47 PM   #6
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converting a shophouse to a hostel? if this is approve, i think many will follow.... :rolleyes:

From TODAY, 22 July 2003

The HDB hurdles

Man's efforts to turn shophouse into hostel bear fruit

by Tor Ching Li
chingli@newstoday.com.sg


WHAT'S the difference between a backpackers' hostel and a hotel?

None, according to the Housing Development Board (HDB), which classifies both under the same category.

Coupled with its insistence that "HDB flats cannot be used for the boarding and lodging of tourists", hostelier-wannabe and backpacking enthusiast, Mr Yang (as he prefers to be known) told Today that he is on the verge of "closing (his) HDB hostel even before it is opened".

Based on the current leeway that shophouse-owners can sublet their living quarters for residential or commercial purposes, the 34-year-old had sent in a proposal to the HDB to convert the three-room living quarters above his father's shophouse in Woodlands into a "family-run homestay-style backpackers' hostel".

When this entrepreneurial attempt was rejected, Mr Yang appealed to the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP), which managed to get the HDB to grant him "in principal approval". This was on condition that the requirements of "all other competent authorities" were met.

One such authority was the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which gave Mr Yang the go-ahead as the proposed living quarters do not share a common access and lobby with other residential units. Mr Yang forked out $800 for the Change of Use fee.

However, the HDB then wanted him to engage a professional engineer to install an automatic fire alarm system. A second appeal to the PEP managed to get the HDB to waive this requirement from the Fire Safety and Shelter Bureau to a manual fire alarm instead.

The HDB also capped his maximum number of backpacker tenants at eight, instead of his proposed 12, a requirement he is appealing against.

Said the HDB in an e--mail reply: "We understand that the shop-owner will want to maximise his economic returns by accommodating more backpackers."

"But we will need to limit the number of occupants in the living quarters mainly to minimise disturbance to the residents, to prevent overcrowding and ensure that the structural loading is not exceeded."

There is currently no restriction on the number of occupants for normal residential use.

"I'm not going to become a millionaire from this; it's hard work," said a frustrated Mr Yang who plans to quit his current job if the hostel idea goes through.

"Restricting the number to eight means that I will have to charge higher fees (than $20 a night)."

Mr Yang is waiting for his third appeal (regarding tenant cap in numbers) via the PEP to the HDB to be processed.

"One needs to have good stamina to overcome the many obstacles along the path to setting up a small business in Singapore," he said.
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Old 27-07-2003, 05:22 PM   #7
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some property news.

JULY 24, 2003, ST

If land prices plunge suddenly...

Home owners will suffer. So the Government is focusing its efforts on cutting wages, fees and taxes

THE Government cannot afford to bring down land prices abruptly to ease the cost of doing business in Singapore, as this will eventually cause the housing market to collapse.

This is why it is trying to keep business costs down in other ways, including cutting wage costs, said Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew yesterday.

Union leader Law Swee Hong had asked what the Government was doing to lower costs, besides getting workers to accept lower wages.

In response, Mr Lee said that the Government was trying to bring down fees and taxes as fast as it can to keep business costs down.

The biggest problem was its high land costs.

'We allowed, or we did not check the rise in land prices and property prices. It went too high. That is a problem.'

But bringing down land costs too quickly would be 'very dangerous', as it would result in the problem that Hong Kong faces now, where its people feel the heat from the depressed value of their property.

Any move to bring down the cost of industrial land, or commercial rent at places like Suntec City, OCBC Building or DBS Building, would eventually result in falling housing values.

'It's all inter-linked and, finally, you find your three-room flat may be worth less.'

And being 'an asset-owning, property-owning society', Singaporeans would be hit badly if this were to happen, he said.

The Government thus had to adjust land prices in a gradual manner.

But since wages made up a major proportion of costs - ranging from 15 per cent in information technology industries to 60 per cent in labour-intensive manufacturing industries - the Government is now focusing on bringing down labour costs.

But how do workers cope with lower wages on the one hand, and rising costs of public amenities such as health care and transport, asked Madam Law.

Mr Lee dispelled the notion that workers were squeezed on both ends - facing lower wages and a higher cost of living.

Transport and medical costs may have risen in recent years, but the cost-of-living index - which tracks prices of a comprehensive bundle of goods and services - had risen by less than 1 per cent.

As for public amenities, it was better to let market forces determine their operations.

Subsidies would distort consumption, he said.

Free medical services in China and a nationalised health system in Britain had resulted in backlogs and poor quality of care.

Elsewhere, government coffers subsidised public transport companies - and as a result they became inefficient.

'The open market, supply and demand settling the price, is the most efficient way of settling what a service or a product is worth.'

So, rather than subsidise the service, the Government decided to help the needy with cash grants or rebates.

'We decided as a matter of basic principle that it's better to give the man the cash and he decides what he's going to do.'

As for the worry that retrenched workers and those who suffered wage cuts cannot service their mortgages, Mr Lee said this issue of 'negative equity' had been examined closely by the Government.

This is the biggest problem in Hong Kong at the moment. It came about following the bursting of the property bubble that had built up over the years there.

People bought property at the height of the market and mortgaged it to the bank.

But when property values came down, many who were jobless or had lower salaries found they could not service their loans.

Fortunately, Singapore did not have this problem, as property prices did not go up as high as in Hong Kong, said Mr Lee.

Also, the bulk of Singaporeans own Housing Board flats.

No one who bought a flat directly from HDB at subsidised prices was in danger of losing it from not servicing his loan, due to HDB's home ownership social agenda.

Indeed, most would still make money if they sold out now.

'We are not going to do anything which will cause us the problem that Hong Kong is facing.

'One of the reasons why our morale is not like Hong Kong is because we don't have this problem,' he said.


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Old 28-07-2003, 11:02 AM   #8
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From ST, 26 Jul 2003

Private home prices at four-year low

With resale prices of big HDB flats rising and lower-end condominiums becoming more affordable, a trend of home upgrading has emerged, experts say

By Leong Pik Yin

PRICES of private homes are at a four-year low and property analysts expect them to bottom out by year-end.

Latest government figures show that while prices continue to fall, signs are emerging that they are beginning to level out.

Yesterday, when the Urban Redevelopment Authority released its quarterly figures, prices in the April-to-June period dipped 0.6 per cent against the previous quarter - less than the 0.9 per cent of the previous quarter-on-quarter comparison.

Resale prices of Housing Board flats continue to climb, rising by 2.1 per cent over the previous quarter, the biggest increase since prices started to inch up last year.

The shrinking gap has sparked signs of an emerging upgrading trend, said some industry experts.

Said Mr Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Properties: 'Some who bought their flats 15 years ago can make as much as $100,000 in profit if they sell their flat now.'

Associate director of Chesterton International Nicholas Mak, said the number of purchases made by HDB upgraders rose from 588 in the first quarter to 987 in the second quarter.

Confirming the trend, real estate agents point to the smaller price gap between lower-end condominiums and big HDB units.

An executive flat in Tampines, for example, costs between $400,000 and $450,000, while some lower-end, 99-year leasehold condos are going for $500,000, said Mr Tony Ho, associate director of real estate network PropNex.

The president of ERA Realty Jack Chua said enticements include cheap bank loans and the change in Central Provident Fund (CPF) rules last year, which allows home-buyers to use their retirement funds for half of a property's 20-per-cent cash downpayment. Before, the entire 20 per cent had to be paid in cash.

Lower condo prices, dropping by more than 40 per cent since the 1996 peak, have also drawn many HDB owners, who form the bulk of buyers of suburban private properties.

Seven out of 10 buyers of Grandeur 8 units, a 99-year leasehold project in Ang Mo Kio, are HDB upgraders, said ** Richard Ellis.

But some property consultants expect the upgrading wave to grow only later.

Colliers International managing director Dennis Yeo sees it happening only in the fourth quarter, if 'signs of the economy recovering become clearer'.

That said, developers sold 1,917 new homes between April and June, more than four times that in the first quarter.

Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore vice-president Chia Ngiang Hong said: 'We were expecting 1,500 units sold, so it was better than we expected.'

One HDB owner who has been drawn to buying a private home is Madam Aziah Bte Ahmad, a 42-year-old property agent.

Shortly after the CPF rules were relaxed, she bought a $430,000 Yishun Sapphire unit last September.

But she is holding on to her five-room HDB flat in Yishun, which she bought for $70,000 in 1985.

'If I sell it now, it may fetch about $270,000. But I think prices will still go up, so I want to wait. I'm hoping to get about $330,000.'

-- Additional reporting by Tan Hui Yee and Vladimir Guevarra
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Old 02-08-2003, 01:10 PM   #9
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Unhappy hdb news

not a very good news for motorists, u can expect more stingent carpark wardens.

Fm ST, JULY 31, 2003

Private firms to patrol HDB carparks


THE next time you get a ticket from a traffic warden at a Housing Board carpark, it may not be one from the HDB.

The board has outsourced these services in the eastern and western parts of Singapore.

From Tuesday, these carparks will be patrolled by wardens from either building management company Premas International or Chubb Singapore, which provides a range of security services.

The HDB will continue to send out formal notices to motorists to settle their fines, as well as handle all payments and appeals.

According to a spokesman, the outsourcing is part of the HDB's recent restructuring exercise where 2,630 staff opted for 'early retirement' under the Government's Special Resignation Scheme.

About 200 of them were from the carparks division.

They will leave the organisation on Tuesday when the private operators take over, said the HDB in a statement issued yesterday.

This will leave behind 430 enforcement officers.

Wardens from Premas International will patrol 110,000 parking lots in the west, while those from Chubb Singapore will take charge of 101,000 parking lots in the eastern part of Singapore.

The areas were assigned by the HDB after a tender exercise, said a spokesman for Premas.

She added that the company, which has experience in carpark management, will deploy about 80 wardens.

Parking charges and fines will remain the same.

According to its latest annual report, the HDB collected $42 million in parking fines between April 2001 and March last year.
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Old 02-08-2003, 01:14 PM   #10
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Lightbulb Re: car park

Fm ST, 1st Aug 1 2003

Can private firms book parking offenders?

I REFER to the report, 'Private firms to patrol HDB carparks' (ST, July 31), that the Housing Board has delegated parking enforcement to two private companies.

Can the HDB do that? After all, isn't issuing notices of parking offences a quasi-penal responsibility? Strictly speaking, illegal parking is penal in nature, notwithstanding the fact that offenders can compound an offence with a fine.

If indeed private companies cannot enforce criminal laws, and I suspect even serve notices of prosecution on behalf of the police and other law-enforcement agencies, how can private companies give out notices of parking offences? Even if there is legislation allowing this, should it be relooked? Will there be abuse?


MICHAEL LOH YIK MING


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Old 02-08-2003, 01:17 PM   #11
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Thumbs down Re: Re: car park

Fm ST, 1st Aug 2003

Free HDB pipe repairs end

HOUSING Board flat residents have to revert to paying for the repair of leaking sewage pipes in their flats, now that the Sars situation has improved.

The HDB and town councils had been doing pipe repairs for free since April because of concerns that the Sars virus could spread through the sanitary system. They stop doing so from today.

HDB said it had fixed more than 1,400 leaks during this period, at a cost of about $35,000.

East Coast Town Council said it saw to an average of six leaks a day between April 19 and July 26, for both main sewage pipes and branch pipes, while Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council said it had had only four reported cases.

Main sewage pipes - which are common property - are taken care of by town councils, but pipes within a flat are the responsibility of the flat owner.

:monkee:
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Old 02-08-2003, 01:21 PM   #12
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Wink new way to dry your laundry

wonder how would it looks like? :rolleyes:


Fm ST, 1st Aug 2003

Safer way to dry laundry


HANGING out the clothes should be a breeze for those moving into Housing Board flats that will be ready next year.

A new feature lets residents hang their laundry on metal railings an arm's length from, and parallel to, the parapet wall.

Since 1999, 51 maids here have died in accidents, many of which are believed to have happened while they were hanging out clothes or cleaning windows.

The HDB will install the new drying facility in the 40-storey blocks being built at Toa Payoh and Queenstown. These will be ready next year and in 2005.

It will also be available at three build-to-order contracts tendered this year, one at Sengkang and two at Punggol.

Asked if all new flats will have the facility, an HDB spokesman said it is suitable only if there is 'a reasonably long area for hanging laundry parallel to the building facade'.

However, he pointed out that all HDB flats built since 1995 have 'improved' drying systems, where external racks support both ends of the bamboo poles for clothes.

Those living in older flats slated for the HDB's Main Upgrading Programme can opt for this feature.

Flat owners such as Mrs A. Menon, who feels it 'can be a struggle' with the older facility, welcome the improvements.

But younger flat owners, such as marketing manager Chan Aileng, 29, say the new facility 'makes little difference' as many of them use dryers.


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Old 04-08-2003, 12:07 PM   #13
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Lifts in some HDB estates have cameras

Fm ST, 04 AUg 2003

Lifts in some HDB estates have cameras

I REFER to Mr Pang Seng Kwang's letter, 'Eye on the elderly' (ST, July 30).

Currently, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras are installed in lifts and lift landing areas in some neighbourhoods, for example, the Bukit Merah and Bedok housing estates. Police will continue to work with the Housing Board and the respective town councils to explore the use of CCTVs to deter crime in lifts and lift landing areas, where necessary.

Opportunities for robbers and thieves would also be reduced greatly if members of the public are vigilant and practise crime prevention measures.

They should stay alert to their surroundings and adopt the following measures:


Be wary of strangers loitering at lift landings or void decks


Avoid wearing expensive jewellery or carrying large sums of cash when going out alone


When returning home late, arrange for a relative or friend to escort you


If taking the lift alone, stand beside the lift control panel. Press the 'door open' button to leave if any stranger rushes in. If you feel uncomfortable, exit at the next lift landing.


CHUA CHEE WAI
Assistant Director,
Media Relations (Covering)
Singapore Police Force

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Old 07-08-2003, 12:19 PM   #14
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RENOVATION WOES

gd to take note if you are doing reno...


Fm ST, 05 AUg 2003

Marble floor too thick, so owner cannot sell his flat

He has to remove tiles before HDB will allow sale

By Tanya Fong

WHEN Mr Goh Thiam Siong, 36, a mini-van driver, bought a three-room flat in Bukit Batok in 1998, he blew $50,000 on laying a marble floor.

Now, it is the cause of his woes.

He cannot sell the flat unless he removes the marble tiles, which he says will cost him another $20,000.

A Housing Board regulation says that floor tiles cannot be more than 5cm thick. The total thickness of his marble floor exceeds the requirement by about 7cm.

A spokesman said this 'overtopping' of flooring can cause structural defects in the building and compromise the safety of residents.

The overtopping was unexpectedly discovered in October 2001, when HDB inspectors went to his flat to inspect his toilet floor.

Mr Goh told The Straits Times in Mandarin: 'I did not even know there was such a regulation, until HDB told me.

'It's the contractor's fault. So why should I pay for it?'

Mr Goh was told to remove the marble flooring, but he appealed to HDB in April last year.

HDB told him that he would have to remove it if structural defects were detected in the building, or if he wanted to sell his flat.

Now, the father of two says he needs to sell his flat because his transport business is not doing well.

He appealed to Dr Amy Khor, an MP for Hong Kah GRC, for help in June, but HDB will not budge.

He has also not been able to reach the contractor, whom he says should be responsible, as it has closed shop.

The Straits Times was also unable to reach West Island Design.

The HDB spokesman stressed that home owners should exercise diligence by ensuring that their contractors do not contravene the regulations in the renovation permits issued by the Housing Board.
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Old 10-08-2003, 01:13 PM   #15
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Angry privatization of carpark

Fm ST, 09 Aug 2003

HDB to continue handling appeals by parking offenders

I REFER to the letter by Mr Michael Loh Yik Ming, 'Can private firms book parking offenders?' (ST, Aug 1).

Mr Loh was concerned about the legality of having private companies issue parking fines and with possible abuses arising from the arrangement.

The Housing Board has engaged two private companies, Premas International Ltd and Chubb Singapore Pte Ltd, to provide parking-enforcement services in some of the carparks in HDB estates. However, the right to carry out enforcement action against motorists remains with HDB.

Staff from Premas and Chubb will issue Notice of Parking Offence (Nopo). HDB will follow up with a formal notice to the motorists to settle the parking fine, and handle all enquiries, payments and appeals, similar to the current practice. This arrangement is purely contractual, and HDB can enter into such contracts in the course of managing its carparks.

If motorists dispute the Nopo issued, the dispute or appeal will be referred to the HDB Branch Office managing that carpark and processed in the usual way.


ENG SOH SENG
Acting Deputy Director (Car Parks)
for Director, Housing Administration
Housing and Development Board



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