More warring neighbours are heading to the Strata Titles Board (STB), which hears disputes involving private estates. We highlight two unusual cases.
A CASE brought before the STB in 2005 involved a small development of only four homes in Robin Lane off Bukit Timah Road.
Two units were owned by a couple, Dr Si-Hoe Kok Chun and Madam Tan Choon Lian, while another was owned by Mr and Mrs Yeo Chin Hoo. The last belonged to Ms Shanti Ramesh Ramchandani.
Their annual general meetings had been held informally since 1981. The owners were invited at each year's meeting to be its management council members and took turns to be office bearers.
But a dispute arose in 1999 when Ms Ramchandani's husband, Mr Ramesh Ramchandani, challenged the presence of Madam Tan at a meeting. Madam Tan and her husband responded by challenging the status of Mr Ramchandani in the council.
The dispute then went from bad to worse.
Dr Si-Hoe and Madam Tan brought a case against Mr Ramchandani with the STB. They said he had not been properly elected to the management council, and the work he had done from 1996 onwards was void. A proper election, they said, required a nomination of council members to be given at an annual general meeting and for voting to take place. Since there was no record of such procedures, they said requirements were not met and all acts performed by Mr Ramchandani were illegal.
The hearing dragged over six days, during which time Ms Ramchandani revealed that she had granted her husband power of attorney since 1986.
The STB dismissed the application, saying procedures were likely to be relaxed in very small developments, and homeowners 'should attempt to live and work harmoniously to resolve any problems in an amicable manner'. It added: 'The proceedings should not have been brought up in the first place.'
Dr Si-Hoe and Madam Tan were ordered to pay Mr Ramchandani $15,000 in legal costs.
Source: Straits Times, 1 Aug 2009