News: Covid-19: Some homeowners forced to move into half-finished homes

Apr 9, 2020

Flat owners whose units require extensive renovations that cannot be completed by 9 April were advised to delay renovations works until the lifting of the circuit breaker measures, said an HDB spokesperson. 

With the circuit breaker measures in effect, some Singaporeans were caught in a bind over unfinished renovation works.

Among them was a homeowner who wanted to be known only as Mr Woo. Since early March, his family of four had been staying with a friend while their home was being renovated, reported Today Online.

Despite the “big mess”, he had started cleaning up his uncompleted home so that his family could move back in the next few days.

“Our friends have already helped us and we can’t expect to overstay for too long. Right now there doesn’t seem to be an end to this,” said Woo.

He noted that his family would have to live without the things they consider to be “essentials” given that their curtains, basins, kitchen and air conditioning units are yet to be installed.

Meanwhile, taxi driver Tony Foo shared that renovations at the resale flat he was planning to move into had to be halted due to the circuit breaker measures.

And as the buyers of his present home refuse to postpone their 30 April move-in date, Foo is left with no choice but to stay in hotel rooms when the time comes.

In responding to clarifications of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, Minister of Law K Shanmugam addressed concerns of parties in similar situation as Foo.

“For those whose flats are undergoing transactions, the buyer and seller will have to discuss new dates,” he said.

Shanmugam revealed that no new renovation permits will be issued by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) between 7 April and 4 May – which is the circuit breaker period’s duration.

He explained that only ongoing renovation works for ‘essential works’ will be allowed by HDB to be completed, provided they will “only take a few days”. This is to provide those with no other housing option a “liveable” space.

According to an HDB spokesperson, essential works can include electrical works and toilet upgrading.

Contractors granted the brief extension should ensure that safe distancing measures are observed, with all works ceasing by 9 April.

Flat owners whose units require extensive renovations that cannot be completed by 9 April were advised to delay renovations works until the lifting of the circuit breaker measures, added the spokesperson.

Homeowners who had planned to move out of their present flats and into their subsequent flats can discuss with the buyers for a temporary extension of stay, which could be up to three months following the resale completion. “This is a private arrangement between the buyer and the seller, and the application must be submitted to HDB,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Foo noted that the extension offered to him, which is till Thursday, would still be unhelpful.

“Most of the workers from my contractor’s company returned to Malaysia on Saturday and Sunday. Even if I (had) wanted to extend the renovations, there’s no one left to do the work,” he said.

Richard Yea, Chief Executive Officer of interior design firm Design 4 Space, said most of his workers went back home over the weekend. He added that his firm had suffered from lack of supplies and shortage of workers since Malaysia implemented the restricted movement order on 18 March.

Wayne Chuan, owner of interior design firm The Local INN.terior, shared that the handing over of a completed house to clients was delayed due to similar disruptions.

“My workers who were supposed to finish up last minute things on Monday went back home. I could have applied for an extension but I have no workers so what can I do?”, he said.

“My client’s wife could give birth at any moment and now they can’t move into the house. They also have to give up the place they’re renting soon because new tenants have already signed the lease. They’re stuck but so am I.”

Looking for a property in Singapore? Visit PropertyGuru’s ListingsProject Reviews and Guides.

 

Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

spacer
agent image
agency logo
Florence Zheng 郑真
Branch Division Director/ERA TOP 50 Achievers for 3 yrs (Commission)
ERA REALTY NETWORK PTE LTD
fzheng77@yahoo.com
CEA Licence No.:
L3002382K / R026964Z
(+65) 9691 6868
(+65) 8121 6056