THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has granted Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) an extension of a grace period until July 27 to remove all partitions in units at The Grangeford condominium and cease the unauthorised use as a boarding house or hostel.
This is to allow OUE time to make arrangements and address the needs of the current residents, URA said yesterday. Having stayed there for only a few months, the tenants were given just three days' notice on Sunday to clear out by their landlord Ideal Accommodation - although the latter knew for at least a month that the partitions breached government rules.
Many residents were frustrated at the lack of information from the landlord.
OUE said in a statement yesterday that its wholly owned unit Cove Development has terminated its tenancy agreements with Ideal Accommodation.
Cove Development leased 171 units at The Grangeford to Ideal Accommodation, which began sub-letting the converted apartments this year.
URA's investigations showed Ideal Accommodation had sub-divided the apartments from the original 141 units to 600 units, and individually leased them to many tenants on an en bloc basis for boarding house or hostel use.
This breached URA regulations and infringed the Planning Act.
URA issued Enforcement Notices to Cove Development and Ideal Accommodation on April 29 over the unauthorised use. Ideal Accommodation was given one month until May 30 to remove all partitions and cease unauthorised sub-letting. It appealed, and the deadline was extended to June 3.
URA noted that during this period, apart from removing the partitions from 141 studio units, Ideal Accommodation had not taken any action on the other 459 room units.
A subsequent appeal was made by Ideal Accommodation on June 1 to the Ministry of National Development (MND) for an additional 2-3 months to comply with the enforcement notice.
URA said yesterday that MND would not consider Ideal Accommodation's latest appeal, since Cove Development had informed it of its plan to terminate its tenancy agreement with Ideal Accommodation and take action to rectify the breaches quickly.
'As the owner of The Grangeford, Cove Development will ultimately be responsible to recover the property effectively and rectify the infringement of the Planning Act,' URA said in a statement yesterday. Cove Development has also told URA it will make arrangements to address the interests of the sub-tenants.
URA said it will keep a close watch on the situation at The Grangeford for any unauthorised use and, at the same time, will bear in mind the interests of the residents and sub-tenants.
Source: Business Times, 4 June 2009