Almost a decade later, the en bloc fever has once again returned. Ten years ago, a number of en bloc sales were called off because the developers were weak and could not raise sufficient capital and loans to complete the transactions. This proved disappointing for some subsidiary proprietors (SP) as they had committed to purchasing their next homes before the en bloc sales were aborted.
What happened then is unlikely to be repeated this time around as most developers have built up a huge war chest of capital over the past few years. But still, SP and strata apartment unit owners should get involved and understand the deal that is being put together.
KEEPING TRACK OF MILESTONES
As an SP, you should always keep track of all the milestones leading to the conclusion of your en bloc sales- milestones like when your Sales Committee (SC) was formed, Extra-Ordinary General Meetings, Updates from SC, etc. Most importantly don’t rely on any knowledge or information you may have gleaned from your en bloc experience in the past.
The en bloc regulations have been more firmly tightened, and the process strictly regulated in the past few years. The tighter laws we now have means the responsibilities of the SC, the property consultants, and the lawyers, are all well defined, which provides for better transparency of the en bloc processes.
IT’S NOT OVER TILL IT IS OVER
Don’t think that just because a qualified developer has made a bid at or above the reserve price, and just because the SC has agreed to accept the bid on behalf of the SP, the transaction is considered done. Some SP may still raise objection to the en bloc sales and if they do, the Strata Title Board (STB) is obliged to hear their case. The entire en bloc transaction can be stopped from proceeding further if the dissenters can prove that the SC did not abide by correct procedures.
TIME TO MOVE OUT
Once the STB gives the stamp of approval for the en bloc sales, the winning developer will have to give you at least 6 months for you to move out of your property. The funds from the en bloc sales would also have been transferred to you by this time, but a significant portion of your proceeds will go towards offsetting any existing loans you may have with the bank, as well as any CPF funds used for purchase of your previous unit. The 6-month period may be sufficient time for most SP to arrange sufficient finances to find another suitable home.
CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS
Whether you are considering to rent or to downgrade to a smaller apartment, consider all options carefully. Everybody’s needs and comfort-levels are different. Just because one housing option works for someone, it doesn’t mean that the same option will work for you and your family. As soon as you are sure that your en bloc sales will conclude without any hassle, you should be speaking to a trusted property advisor. The advisor would be best placed to guide you through your next housing option.
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