Why Braddell View owners may not all vote to privatise

Braddell View residents may favour privatisation but feel compelled to vote against it if the premiums are too high, said Member of Parliament (MP) Hri Kumar Nair yesterday.

Changes to the HUDC Housing Estates Act were passed in Parliament yesterday to allow HUDC owners the flexibility to vary the fees that each owner has to pay for privatisation. Previously, the fee had to be divided equally among all the owners.

Mr Hri Kumar, the MP for the area, said he supported the amendments, which would make it easier for Braddell View residents to privatise their estate.

Braddell View, the last HUDC estate that has yet to be privatised or earmarked for privatisation, was developed in two phases. The amendments would allow owners in each phase to pay a different fee, as determined by the Chief Valuer.

However, Mr Hri Kumar noted that some would face practical difficulties. “Chief among these will be the premium they must pay,” he said, pointing to the fact that a large number of homeowners were retirees who would have difficulty forking out the “thousands of dollars it will cost to privatise”.

He added: “This will be exacerbated by the sum some of them may have to pay, to top up the lease for Phase One of the estate to make up for the difference in the two phases.”

Minister of State (National Development) Lee Yi Shyan said flat owners can use savings from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Accounts.

Owners who are 55 and above can use savings from their Retirement Accounts as long as the minimum sum is maintained. They can also add their children as owners and use their children’s CPF.

In addition, the estate’s sinking funds can go towards paying the premium.

Mr Lee estimated that owners have about six months to pay the premium and the revised Act makes a provision for the Housing and Development Board to grant an extension if necessary. Sumita Sreedharan

Source : Today – 2012 Jul 10


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