Buyer gets flat 5 years later

Buyer gets flat 5 years later
CRAMPED: Madam Herni Fadhillah Saad and her daughter are sharing a bedroom in her mother’s flat while her son sleeps in the living room.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Her five-year nightmare in a tussle with the sellers of an HDB flat is finally over.

Madam Herni Fadhillah Saad can now look forward to moving into her own home with her two children.

But only after the Supreme Court yesterday sentenced the former owners to be jailed for contempt of court until further notice.

Madam Herni's lawyer, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Yakub, had applied to the court to have the couple jailed so that he could arrange for the three-room flat to be vacated and allow his client to move in.

The flat in Bedok South Road had been an issue of contention since 2010 when Madam Herni agreed to buy it from Mr Lim Teck Choon and his wife Tan Poh Lee.

But a dispute over the transaction arose, sending both parties to court.

Even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the sale of the flat to Madam Herni had to be completed within three months, the couple refused to budge.

Last November, the court ordered them to vacate the flat by December.

Again, they refused despite attempts by court bailiffs to evict them.

While happy with a breakthrough in the deadlock, Madam Herni, a 40-year-old mother of a boy, 15, and girl, 12, told The New Paper last night that she is not celebrating yet.

The human resource executive said: "I am not sure if there will be possible harassment after he is released from detention."

She had bought the flat in the hope of providing a conducive place for her son to study for his PSLE in 2012.

Instead, Madam Herni and her children ended up living in a cramped bedroom in her parents' four-room HDB flat as the dispute dragged on. Her sister also lives in the flat.

This year, it is her daughter's turn to take the PSLE.

In an interview with TNP last month, Madam Herni recounted how her nightmare began after she signed the option to purchase and paid a deposit of $5,000 in August 2010.

The agreed sale price was $310,000.

She had used half of the cash proceeds from the sale of her matrimonial flat after her divorce.

Court papers showed that MadamHerni failed to come up with the $32,000 for the down payment by the due date. HDB then cancelled the resale application.


Madam Herni later successfully applied for a bank loan and HDB reinstated the resale application.

But she was told Mr Lim changed his mind.

She said: "When he suddenly backed out, I was surprised. There was commotion. He locked himself in the toilet and refused to sign."

As a result of her delay in getting a loan, Mr Lim apparently had another buyer who offered a higher price for his flat, said Madam Herni.

"If you want to cancel, then return my deposit and we can move on."

Mr Lim had insisted on forfeiting the $5,000 deposit.

Madam Herni said: "We tried to settle out of court but he was always aggressive. He would bang the table and chairs.

"If it could have been solved amicably, it would not have dragged on until now."

Madam Herni was stuck in a predicament as she had already spent more than $11,000: $2,500 to her lawyer, $3,500 to the agent who wanted to be paid before the sale completion and $5,000 in deposit to Mr Lim.

She would also incur bank penalty charges if she were to cancel her loan and it would be difficult for her to get a fresh loan. Madam Herni sued Mr Lim and his wife in October 2011.

The couple was granted legal aid and was represented by three different lawyers one after another, according to court papers. But legal aid was withdrawn early 2013.

After a Supreme Court hearing, Justice Tay Yong Kwang ordered that the sales and purchase to Madam Herni be completed within three months from Nov 7, 2013.

But the couple refused to transfer ownership to her.

Last Nov 26, the court ordered them to vacate the flat by Dec 26 when the sale was legally completed.

Again, the couple would not budge despite two attempts to execute the court order.

Mr Ibrahim initiated contempt of court proceedings against the couple and they were fined $2,000 and $500 respectively, in April this year.

But they still would not budge.

An exasperated Madam Herni noted that Mr Lim was allocated a one-room rental flat following the sale while she could not get one because she was technically the owner of the Bedok South flat.

"He had two flats while I was stuck in a room with my kids," she said.

Man wanted to raise money for medicine

When the judge sentenced Mr Lim Teck Choon, 59, to jail yesterday, he raised a ruckus.

"Make sure I die in the prison. Let Singaporeans see. I'm a cancer patient," he shouted, red-faced.

Mr Lim and his wife Tan Poh Lee had been taken to court for contempt of court after refusing to move out of a three-room HDB flat in Bedok South Road that they had sold in 2010.

A dispute over the sale had ended with the buyer, Madam Herni Fadhillah Saad, 40, suing the couple.

Even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the sale of the flat to Madam Herni had to be completed within three months, Mr Lim did not comply.

About a year later, the court ordered the couple to vacate the flat, but they again refused to comply.

In court yesterday, Madam Herni's lawyer, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Yakub, applied to have the couple jailed so that he could arrange for the flat to be vacated.

"He has been allocated a rental flat for five years, so he has a place to stay," he said.

"We will put his belongings in storage at his expense by when the contempt of court will be purged."

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