Court slams $200k inducement, refuses to clear en bloc sale

Court slams $200k inducement, refuses to clear en bloc sale

SINGAPORE - The High Court has slammed an en bloc sales committee and its marketing agent for offering a $200,000 inducement to a couple to join the collective sale of their residential block.

The consent from flat owners Han Min Juan and Jee Ming Tu would have enabled the requisite 80 per cent majority to be crossed for Harbour View Gardens in Pasir Panjang Road to be sold to a property developer.

Justice Belinda Ang refused to allow the sale to proceed and said the collective sale committee (CSC) involved had failed to act in good faith while the marketing agent's conduct was "commercially unacceptable".

The test case is significant in clarifying the circumstances in which incentive payments are allowed.

Justice Ang added in judgment grounds released on Tuesday that the committee "did not act in a transparent manner" and had furthered the interests of the majority owners to the prejudice of the dissenting minority owners.

The 14 units of freehold three- storey walk-up apartments had been sold to RH West Coast for $33 million last year subject to clearance for the sale.

The sum was $1 million below the reserve price offered initially.

Three owners objected to the sale and subsequent mediation by the Strata Titles Board failed last September. This led to the Strata Titles Board's stop-sale order last December. The CSC then applied to the High Court to approve the sale.

The three objecting unit owners argued that the CSC had not acted in good faith by offering a $200,000 incentive to the couple for the sole purpose of reaching the 80 per cent majority required for the sale to go through.

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