Friday, January 29, 2010

Burden of disbanding panel shouldn’t fall on those against collective sale

THE Law Ministry’s reply on Thursday (‘En bloc sale panels already have a lifespan’) to my letter on Monday (‘Save owners from sword of Damocles’) has not addressed the following problem.

As I understand it, a collective property sale expires one year after the first subsidiary proprietor has signed the collective sale agreement. However, until this signing process is triggered, a collective sale committee has, in legal fact, indefinite tenure.

Which means that even if it chooses to stay around for 20 years, legally there is no mechanism to disband it automatically.

The ministry suggests that the owners can do so by holding an annual general meeting (AGM) or extraordinary general meeting to do so. No doubt this is so. This means that those who oppose a collective sale must become active in collecting signatures and rally for votes.

My question is: Shouldn’t the law be refined to have an automatic mechanism to disband a sale committee, which has, after say 12 months, not even collected that first signature?

This is a loophole in the law which should be addressed. No committee should have carte blanche to exist indefinitely.

The law is clear on management councils. These must be dissolved and re-elected at an AGM and have a limited tenure of one year.

Why should collective sale committees be allowed to operate indefinitely unless they choose to dissolve themselves or are booted out?

In my condo, the collective sale committee is restarting the process after 27 months. One member has sold and others have moved out of their condo units.

More than 10 per cent of the residents are new owners. They did not vote in this committee.

Moreover, the agents say they need even more time to ‘evaluate’ the situation.

Unless legal deadlines are set, those who want to stay on live with this situation hanging over their heads. I hope the ministry will consider a revision of the rules.

Susan Prior (Ms)

Source: Straits Times, 29 Jan 2010

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