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Threats, police reports and potential lawsuits fly over contentious proposed en bloc sale of Pine Grove condo

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The proposed en-bloc sale of Pine Grove condominium has seen tempers rising as about 60 per cent of homeowners have consented to the proposed sale while the remaining residents are still holding out.

Several residents have reported being threatened or intimidated by fellow residents who want their way, as the collective sale committee (CSC) await another 20 per cent of homeowners to consent to seal the deal in what has become the most contentious en bloc sale attempt in the estate.

According to property portal 99.co, an en bloc sale or collective sale is a “sale of two or more property units to a single common purchaser”:

“Generally speaking, an en bloc sale means that owners, in exchange for collectively parting with their property are each offered a golden handshake, so to speak. The contentiousness arises from the fact that not everybody has to consent to the deal, and as a result, for some, the golden handshake – no matter how golden – is also kind of a slap in the face.
“When a development is older than 10 years, at least 80 percent (90 percent when it’s less than 10 years old) of its residents* must agree to part with their home for the deal to go through. Consequently, in the event that a vast majority – to the tune of 80 percent of the residents – decide to sell a collective sum of units (including those that are not theirs), then the whole development can be sold, much to the misfortune of the remaining 20% of residents.”

The ongoing attempt to sell the 660-unit condominium located near Ulu Pandan Road en bloc has turned ugly with residents splitting into three factions.

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Meetings over the proposed en bloc sale of the property has been becoming increasingly heated as a Whatsapp chat group started by residents to discuss the sale has only served to further fracture relationships.

The police have confirmed a report lodged by a Pine Grove resident over alleged threatening messages while a potential defamation lawsuit brews between the chairman of the management committee, Ms Cheryn Chan, against the chairman of the CSC, Ms Singaram Kogilambal.

It appears that Ms Kogilambal was recently served a writ of summons by Ms Chan for alleged defamation, after the former allegedly made certain comments about her that led people to question Chan’s conduct.

One elderly resident interviewed by journalists said:

“The (en bloc) process has become quite ugly, with some groups ostracising those who raise questions, and others raising their voices. I wish to stay out of this but I cannot as this involves the sale of my home.”

Such intense disputes is not entirely uncommon between residents over collective sale attempts. Embittered residents have fought protracted court battles over en bloc sales, spending hefty legal costs.

Those who do not have the ability nor inclination to take such matters to court show their support for or opposition to en bloc sale attempts in different ways.

In one of the most notable such case, a spate of vandalism incidents marred the en bloc sale process of Laguna Park in East Coast in 2008.

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