They say flats, in son's name, were for investment but son claims they were gifts to him
AN AGED couple from Taiwan have sued their son in the Singapore High Court for the return of the title deeds of two condominium apartments worth about $1.7 million.
In their lawsuit, Mr Yang Min-hao, 76, and Madam Yang Yuan Hsiang-ying, 71, said they funded the $344,500 downpayment for the flats but used their son's name as they were worried about not being able to get a bank loan.
The couple, who live in Taipei, say that their son was merely holding the properties and rental incomes from the flats in trust for them.
Their son, Mr Yang Chuang-yang, 49, who has lived in Singapore for more than 10 years, does not dispute he did not take part in the property purchases. But he claims that his parents gave the flats to him - an assertion the couple, who have five other children, deny.
The three-day hearing, which started yesterday, revolves around apartments in Parc Oasis in Jurong, bought in 1992, and Central Green in Tiong Bahru, bought in 1993.
The couple arranged for their daughter, Ms Yang Sheng Cheng, who was then living in Singapore, to buy the properties, telling her to rent out the units and use the income to service the housing loan instalments, property taxes and maintenance fees.
To secure the housing loan, the couple decided to put the properties in Chuang-yang's name. He was still in Taiwan at the time.
The couple transferred $160,000 for the Parc Oasis apartment and $184,500 for the Central Green apartment to Sheng Cheng as downpayment.
The rest was funded by housing loans obtained by Sheng Cheng here, and the couple later transferred money to her to maintain the apartments, which were rented out. The couple said they had explicitly told their son that the flats were intended for investment purposes and to serve as a source of income during their retirement.
In 1997, Chuang-yang moved to Singapore and, two years later, took over his sister's task of collecting rent. In October 2007, he signed a letter promising that in the event both properties were sold, he would give all the proceeds to his mother.
But when they asked him for the title deeds last year, he refused to hand them over unless they paid him $250,000.
In his defence, Chuang-yang said he was initially not aware that his parents had bought the apartments in his name and found out about it only in 2000. He claims the money did not come from his parents but from the boyfriend of another sister.
Chuang-yang denies that he was holding the properties or rental income in trust for his parents, saying instead that the flats were meant for him as gifts.
Source: Straits Times, 25 May 2010