Construction & Infrastructure Partner Conrad Campos advises property buyers to discount the usually attractive illustrations of the development as they may be subjective, as published in The Straits Times

Construction & Infrastructure Partner Conrad Campos advises property buyers to discount the usually attractive illustrations of the development as they may be subjective, as published in The Straits Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Construction & Infrastructure Partner Conrad Compos advised that beyond mandatory particulars such as location and land tenure, which must be provided accurately, buyers should discount the usually attractive illustration or depictions of the development as they may be subjective in The Straits Times.

The article was first published in The Straits Times on 3 September 2017.

Hey, where's the fountain?

Some condo buyers question lack of design features that had been advertised earlier

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
Date: 3 September 2017
Author: Annabeth Leow

Several unit owners at Braddell condominium E Maison have raised the question of design features that had been advertised earlier but did not feature in the completed project.

The topic came up at the condo's first annual general meeting (AGM) recently. While the meeting broke up over a disagreement surrounding a vote for members of the management council, several owners had voiced their disquiet about certain design features.

They said a roundabout and a fountain were among features cited in marketing materials but not seen in the finished condo.

But developer Top Global said at the meeting on Aug 17 that the roundabout "was not constructed as its turning radius did not comply with (regulatory) requirements". The fountain could not be provided as the area was a designated fire engine access road, it added.

"We wanted the residents to form their own management council and to begin managing their estate, (that's) why we called for the AGM earlier than we needed to," a Top Global spokesman said in response to a Sunday Times query.

However, the AGM did not go as planned, the spokesman said. "Owing to the disruptive activities of these select few residents, there was no way to carry on with the poll and the AGM in a proper and lawful manner," the spokesman said. Another AGM will be called in due course, he added.

E Maison owners may not be alone in questioning the lack of certain design features. Snazzy sales brochures can pique interest, but sometimes the reality may be different.

Lake Life, in the Jurong Lake District, was billed as a "smart" development when it hit the market in 2014. Media reports spoke of how the executive condominium could run a driverless electric shuttle bus, subject to the authorities' approval, and units could have features such as Internet appliance control.

The project was popular, drawing more than 1,200 applications for its 546 units at the launch.

Lake Life obtained its Temporary Operation Permit last December, but neither of the much-heralded features has turned out as some expected. The driverless shuttle is still a no-go, while the smart-home packages do not come built in.

A spokesman for developer Evia Real Estate told The Sunday Times "there is likely a misperception on the provision of the smart home", which must be bought from a preferred vendor.

The spokesman said: "In all marketing materials, we have mentioned that the autonomous shuttle services will be available subject to (the relevant) authority's approval."

As of now, driverless vehicles are being tested only in the one-north area. "In view of the current situation", the spokesman said, the developer will provide free daily shuttle bus services to nearby MRT stations, with plans to do so until a management committee is formed at the first AGM.

Accountant William Loo, 38, cited price, location and nearby amenities as the key factors that drew him to his new four-bedroom home. Still, he said, "smart-home (features) would have been fun to have".

Beyond mandatory particulars such as location and land tenure, which must be provided accurately, buyers "should discount the usually attractive illustration or depictions of the development as they may be subjective", said Mr Conrad Campos, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. He said developers are obliged to provide only features depicted in the showflat or models at the showroom, in the specifications they offer for the purpose of payment of the booking fee or in the sale and purchase agreement.

While projects must meet all regulatory standards, developers can start selling units as soon as they have written permission to develop the land, building plan approval and a housing developer's sale licence. An Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesman said when changes must be made to meet standards, "the developers do not need to obtain consent from the purchasers".

But "to minimise subsequent design changes, (Qualified Persons) should ensure that their development plans comply with all relevant agencies' requirements before the project is marketed".