More and more Singaporeans are now fulfilling their ultimate dream of owning a house they can call their own. Thanks to low-cost housing units being offered by HDB as well as executive condominiums which is a public-hybrid type of housing, it’s now easy to invest on such residential properties.
The sales of private parcels on the other hand has been on the rise. Wealthy Singaporeans are now buying luxurious condominiums and landed homes where size and location is all that matters. However, both affordable and luxurious properties are not exempted on developer-related property defects. Regardless of the location, developer and price of the residence, property defects Singapore can upset even the humblest buyer.
Dealing with property defects is no simple task. You need to do gazillion of things such as inspecting every corner of your home, taking pictures of the defects, formally complaining about the imperfections, notifying the developer and many more. Should you find defects on your newly bought property, learn how to easily deal with them by checking these tips and tricks below.
What is a defect?
Property defect – any fault in the unit which is due either to defective workmanship or materials or to the unit not having been constructed according to the specifications set out in the Sale and Purchase Agreement. For strata subdivided housing units, defects may also include flaws on the common property.
Most common property defects Singapore
Defects can range from minor paint imperfections to major issues such as water pipes and leaking faucets. To make defect inspection Singapore easier, it is important to classify them into 7 main categories. Inspecting your new home per category will make spotting of possible defects less of a headache.
- Internal walls
- Mechanical and electrical fittings
- Other components and accessories
Liability of the developer
Bear in mind that the developer plays a huge role on rectifying any defects found in a unit, common property or housing project. Under the Sale and Purchase Agreement, the developer has obligations to fulfill when defects are found within the Defects Liability Period of 12 months. This period starts from:
> The date when the developer actually delivers the vacant possession of the unit to the purchaser.
> 15th day after the purchaser receives notice that the Temporary Occupation Permit has been issued.
How to deal with property defects Singapore?
Should you find defects on your new home, you can’t simply call the developer or building administration to rant over your disappointments. There is a legal process you need to follow in order to rectify property defects.
- Specify the details of the defect in writing and request the developer by sending a notice to make good of the found defect.
- Request for a joint inspection together with the developer. If inspection is not needed, request for an appointment to rectify the property defects.
- The developer should carry out the necessary repairs within one month after receiving the notice of the defect.
- On the day of appointment, make sure to clear the area that needs repair. Additionally, make sure that someone is at home to grant access to the workmen.
- After the repair has been carried out, and if you are satisfied with the quality of work, acknowledge to confirm that the repair has already been corrected.
What if there is no response from the developer?
If you have tried to follow the above steps dealing with property defects and still you got no response from the developer, you don’t need to weep because there’s still an alternative procedure you can try. If the developer doesn’t make rectifications after one month, you may do the following:
- Make a notice of intent to the developer that you wish to engage another party to rectify the reported defects.
- Attach on the letter the estimated cost for the rectification of works. Note that you need to present a written quotation of the estimated cost.
- Wait for the developer to rectify the defects within 14 days, if not;
- Carry out the repairs and recover the cost as well as expenses made from the developer.
Resolving disputes with the developer
Keep in mind that not every request sent to the developer to rectify property defects Singapore may always proceed with success. There are some instances where the developer will dispute your request. Unresolved issues usually arise from disagreements on the defects, poor rectifications, discrepancy on the cost of repair, or even lack of response regarding your concerns.
When this happens, remember to try resolving the dispute first through mediation. Sending your rants and shouting on the phone will do nothing but add stress on the situation. In mediation, an impartial third party called mediator will negotiate between you and the developer. The work of the mediator is NOT to decide on the dispute but to come up an amicable settlement between you and the developer.
Mutual agreement is the ultimate goal of both parties. If after mediation you and the developer are still unable to settle the case, you can try other dispute resolution measures like neutral evaluation, arbitration or litigation. Though, compare to filing a legal case, mediation is less time consuming than litigation or arbitration.
Tips during defect inspection Singapore
> It would be best to take pictures of the defects to document specific details.
> Be present on all appointments made by the developer or contractor.
> If there are new defects found, urgently inform the developer.
> For two or more flaws, there should be a list of acknowledgement for the rectified defects.
> In case you need mediators, opt for low cost yet well respected organizations.
Indeed, property defects Singapore are really disappointing especially if you pay a premium on your lovely home. Yet, there’s a solution to this problem and you don’t need to worry about incurring extra costs as long as you follow the right procedure along with proper communication with the developer.
For more information about property defects, check out our Ultimate Guide to Checking for Defects in a New Property.