PRIVATE apartments cannot be used as workers' dormitories. However, to be classified as a dormitory, a unit needs to accommodate more than eight workers. So it is perfectly legal for a private apartment owner to rent to foreign workers, as long as there are no more than eight of them.
The management corporation, says Mr Chan Kok Hong, managing director of CKH Strata Management, cannot restrict owners from doing this.
But Mr Teo Poh Siang, who runs estate management firm Wisely 98, says: 'Units rented to foreign workers are usually very badly maintained and overcrowding is a prevailing issue.'
Common property may be damaged as a result. 'The value of the property may be affected if foreign workers occupy more and more units,' he says.
A recent case involving the illegal partitioning of apartments at The Grangeford condo in Leonie Hill has raised questions about this contentious issue. The estate was sold en bloc in 2007, but leased out by its buyer to a company called Ideal Accommodation. The master tenant illegally partitioned the 140 apartments into 600 smaller units to earn more rent from tenants, who included expatriates, local professionals and students.
The authorities are clear on this, however, and draw the line at partitions put up for commercial purposes in condos. Ideal has been told to remove its partitions.
Source: Straits Times, 1 Aug 2009