Lagoon View owners group loses privatisation levy case

Lagoon View owners group loses privatisation levy case

An association representing the owners of Lagoon View estate has failed in its court bid to force a unit owner to contribute more than $35,000 to buy up common areas.

District Judge Seah Chi-Ling dismissed the case earlier this month, and written grounds explaining his decision are expected to follow in due course.

The case is significant as other unit holders in the estate have already paid their dues - known as a privatisation levy - to acquire the common areas .

Mr S. V. Chandran, 80, had been taken to court by the Lagoon View Owners Association (LVOA) as he refused to pay the $35,500 sought from each owner in the five apartment blocks, which would amass the $16 million needed to buy the common-area land from its owner, the Ministry of Finance.

The move to buy the land - such as carpark areas - was meant to pave the way for the privatisation of the Marine Parade Road estate.

Privatisation opens up options for apartment owners to redevelop the land such as by allowing them to add new amenities, re-landscape or go for a collective sale.

The LVOA had argued a "substantial majority" had voted in favour of buying the common-area land at a May 2010 special general meeting (SGM). At a further SGM the following month, the threshold requirement for at least 80 per cent of the members to pay by the December 2010 deadline was attained.

It then proceeded with the privatisation exercise, which was completed with the Singapore Land Authority in August 2011.

Mr Chandran, a retired police officer who has lived there for about 40 years, was thus bound by the resolutions passed then.

But, among other things, his lawyer Vijai Parwani from Parwani Law countered in defence papers that the management committee had failed to cross the 80 per cent threshold required as stated in its own resolution by the deadline, which he argued was October 2010 - two months earlier than the date argued by LVOA.

Based on the resolution, if the LVOA did not obtain this threshold by the deadline, it was required to call another SGM, which it did not do, he added.

Lawyer Peter Madhavan of Joseph Tan Jude Benny, representing the LVOA, told The Straits Times that the LVOA has applied for leave to appeal against the court's decision. The court's leave is required as the sum sought in the case is less than $50,000.

"I am very elated because I have been exonerated," Mr Chandran told The Straits Times yesterday.

He is also appealing against the dismissal of his application that the election and appointment of the 25th management committee in March 2010, and its subsequent acts, be declared null and void.

Meanwhile, in a notice to residents of its annual general meeting this week, LVOA president Eric Tan said: "By now, most of you know the LVOA is inactive. It will be dissolved when an outstanding legal case between the estate and one (subsidiary proprietor) is settled by the courts."


This article was first published on March 28, 2016.
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