Deal-breaker or no big deal? Buying a flat in which a person has died may be too much of a taboo to some, but to others, location trumps everything else.
An HDB unit in Potong Pasir where the remains of an old man were found last year has seen keen interest from at least one potential buyer, reported Lianhe Wanbao on Thursday (Dec 23).
According to several media reports, the remains of the flat's elderly occupant were discovered during dengue inspections by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in July 2020.
The deceased, who was born in 1948, had been living alone in the flat located at Blk 139 Potong Pasir Ave 3.
Reports added that a locksmith was engaged to help open the door to the flat after several unsuccessful attempts by NEA officials to contact the owner.
At the time, the locksmith told Today that when the body was found in the kitchen, all that remained was just a "skeleton". He'd added that the windows of the unit were open and that there was "no smell at all".
A Lianhe Wanbao report had also stated that the calendar in the flat was still turned to the month of June 2011, leading his relatives to believe that the elderly man's body had laid undiscovered in the flat for nine years.
His nephew, a 48-year-old businessman, subsequently told Wanbao that the flat would be sold off and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Sian Chay Medical Institution, to provide free consultation services for elderly residents in the neighbourhood.
When contacted recently by Wanbao on the status of the flat, he said that the unit has been cleared out and the family are on the lookout for buyers.
He stated that his uncle, a devout Buddhist, was a "gentle and humble" man and that he died of natural causes without causing any disturbance. Hence, potential buyers need not be fearful or worried that the flat would bring them bad luck.
The report caught the attention of a female reader who contacted the Chinese evening daily to express her interest in the flat.
The woman, a 41-year-old taxi driver, said that she had taken a liking to the neighbourhood in Potong Pasir after a friend of hers moved into the area recently.
"When I visited her, I found the location to be quite good; there's a supermarket and coffeeshop nearby and it's also close to the MRT," the woman told Wanbao.
She added that she had been looking to buy a resale flat and had viewed "five or six units" within the past six months, without success.
When asked for her thoughts on whether it's taboo to buy a flat in which someone has died, she said: "I've not done anything to harm anyone so there's nothing to be afraid of.
"If the negotiations are successful, I will get a priest to chant some prayers and I will also set up an altar in the house, there's no need to worry."
Several potential buyers
According to the deceased's elder brother, several potential buyers have made appointments to view the flat.
With the unit located on a high floor and its good location, he added that he believes the unit will be sold soon.
The 80-year-old retiree told the Chinese evening daily that he is currently overseeing the sale of the flat with the help of a property agent.
He stated that the property will likely be transacted according to "market prices", but he is leaving the agent to handle the negotiations.