Friday 26 June 2015

DBSS resident files court application against AHPETC for S&CC refund

By Ng Jing Yng, TODAY, 25 Jun 2015

A resident of Parkland Residences on Upper Serangoon Road has gone to court to seek a refund for the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) she had paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Corporate travel manager Melinda Teo, 37, lodged a report with the Small Claims Tribunals on Monday to get back the S$367.20 she had paid to the AHPETC between November last year and May this year.

A Parkland Residences resident has gone to court to get a refund for the conservancy charges she paid to Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council earlier.
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Residents of Parkland Residences, a Design, Build and Sell Scheme project, had been caught in an impasse involving the AHPETC and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) over maintenance documents.

AHPETC had insisted that the developer, Kwan Hwee Investment, handed over a list of documents and certain items before the town council starts to manage and maintain the estate’s common areas. However, the HDB said the documents were not required for AHPETC to do its day-to-day cleaning. The impasse resulted in the residents having to clean their own common areas.

Between November and June, Kwan Hwee Investment also had to perform cleaning duties for which it is planning to seek compensation from the AHPETC.

The impasse has been resolved. Since the start of this month, the AHPETC has been cleaning and maintaining the property’s common areas as required under the Town Councils Act.

Some residents who have been paying S&CC charges before the AHPETC took over the estate’s cleaning have said they hoped to seek refunds.

However, Mr Low Thia Khiang, The Workers’ Party chief and Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament, told residents last month in a newsletter that the AHPETC will be using the paid S&CC monies to reimburse the developer.

Ms Teo told TODAY it is not just about recovering paid monies. “... I feel that AHPETC cannot insist (on) payments based on all residents (having) to pay S&CC, but (it) did not fulfil its duties prior to June,” she said.

Ms Teo said she had posted on the Parkland Residences’ Facebook page to inform other residents of her move, but noted it is up to individuals to file their own reports. She also pointed out that emails sent to the town council have gone unanswered. These include a petition by more than 300 residents to waive S&CC charges between November and last month.

A meeting will be held at the Small Claims Tribunals between Ms Teo and an AHPETC representative on July 2. The AHPETC had not responded to TODAY’s queries by press time.

* Resident loses bid to recover service fees from AHPETC
The Straits Times, 30 Jul 2015

The Small Claims Tribunal has dismissed a Hougang resident's bid to get a refund of the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) she had paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Some residents of the 680-unit Parkland Residences development told The Straits Times yesterday that the decision was made on Monday when the case between corporate travel manager Melinda Teo, 37, and AHPETC was heard. The residents said they were not aware of the reason for the tribunal's decision.

In June, the Workers' Party-run town council told unit owners that they had to pay their S&CC from the time they collected the keys to their flats.

Ms Teo, who lodged her claim to the tribunal last month, had wanted the town council to return to her $367.20 as she said it did not manage the estate between last November and May this year.

The council took over the management and maintenance of Parkland Residences - a Design, Build and Sell Scheme - only on June 1.

Before then, the project's developer Kwan Hwee Investment had been asked by the HDB to clean the common areas as an impasse between AHPETC and the Housing Board had delayed the council taking over of the management and maintenance.

Workers' Party chief and Aljunied GRC MP Low Thia Khiang told residents in a June newsletter that part of the fees would be used to reimburse the developer for its cleaning services and part would be transferred to the sinking fund.

The tribunal's decision disappointed residents such as Ms Jena Woon. She wrote on a Facebook page for Parkland residents: "Though expected but still unhappy, it's a fact that they (AHPETC) are not really doing their job."

But others who did not begrudge paying the S&CC said cleaning standards had improved.

A resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said he saw "next to zero cleaning" when he moved into his home in the first quarter of this year. But since last month, cleaners spruced up the estate daily, he said.

Mr Tan also said he was concerned by the lack of communication to residents by the developer and AHPETC on how much of the collected fees were going to the developer.

Ms Teo, who had collected more than 300 signatures from fellow residents to petition AHPETC to waive its S&CC, declined to comment yesterday.

AHPETC did not respond to queries last night.

AHPETC tells residents to pay overdue service fees
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 26 Jun 2015

THE town council run by the Workers' Party has issued letters to residents of a new Housing Board development, asking them to pay their overdue service and conservancy charges (S&CC), which many residents are disputing.

The letter from the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) was received by the residents of Parkland Residences in Hougang yesterday.

Dated June 23, the letter cited the Town Councils Act and said the charges are to be paid monthly, from the month they collected the keys to their flats. It added: "Due to handover issues, the Town Council did not send you reminder notices to pay your S&CC."

Earlier this month, about 300 residents signed a petition to AHPETC, calling on it to waive the fees. One resident has since gone to the Small Claims Tribunal to claim a refund of the fees. They argue that they need not pay the fees as the town council had taken over the management and maintenance of the property only on June 1.

Before that, the project's developer, Kwan Hwee Investment, had been asked by the HDB to clean the common areas while the paperwork for AHPETC to take over the care of the estate was being finalised.

AHPETC had said it cannot waive or refund the S&CC as it has to compensate Kwan Hwee Investment for the maintenance work done before June 1 and transfer part of the fees into its sinking fund.

The estate was ready last November.

The town council, in its latest letter, advised residents who cannot pay up by July 31 to see the town council or their MP at the weekly Meet-the-People sessions.

A 42-year-old housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Chan, said AHPETC had calculated she owed $413 for her four-room flat.

But, she added: "Why should we pay the town council if they didn't do their job?"

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