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Singapore

Enhanced protection, more information for home buyers among proposed changes to rules for housing developers

SINGAPORE: Enhanced protection and more information for home buyers are among the proposed amendments to rules for housing developers, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Wednesday (Jan 5).

The key proposed amendments require developers to provide more information to home buyers to "help them make better informed decisions", URA added.

It is now seeking public feedback on key proposed amendments.

"To help home buyers make better informed decisions, URA is proposing for developers to provide more accurate and detailed information on their housing projects," said the authority. 

"These include the track records of the developers, storey layout plans of the project, and information on ground rent payable and identity of the landowners."

Developers will have to provide their Construction Quality Assessment System and Quality Mark scores, as well as Green Mark certification for completed projects in the past five years.

They will also be required to obtain authorities' prior approval for the features of a housing project to be shown in advertisements. These include features such as vehicle pick-up points, landscaping and water features.

Void areas in unit floor plans will have to be marked out and scaled floor plans for landed properties have to be provided by developers, and they have to explain the abbreviations used, said URA.

For developments in which the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion have been obtained, these dates have to be stated in advertisements.

This is to allow buyers to know when they can move in once they have settled payments.

CHANGES TO APPROVED PLANS

If the actual area in a unit falls short of the area stated in the Sale and Purchase Agreement by more than 3 per cent, developers are currently required to compensate home buyers.

This will be reduced to 2 per cent under the proposed amendments.

If the developer wishes to make any change to the unit floor plan or any substantive change to the site plan for the common facilities, they must seek consent from home buyers. 

This is unless the changes are needed to comply with new requirements issued by the relevant authorities after the Option to Purchase issue date.

Under the proposed amendments, should a Sale and Purchase Agreement be annulled, developers will be required to refund interest paid on loans, loan cancellation charges and legal fees paid by home buyers, subject to a cap of 15 per cent of the purchase price.

This is in addition to current regulations requiring developers to refund all instalment payments and any stamp duty paid by the home buyer.

INFORMATION ON LANDOWNERS, SIMPLIFIED PAYMENTS

Under the proposed changes, developers will also be required to provide information on the landowner of the property and the ground rent payable.

These need to be in the Option to Purchase and Sale and Purchase Agreement, in addition to the information on land tenure.

URA also announced a simplified payment schedule for home buyers.

Currently, the timing for the payment of the final 15 per cent of the purchase price can vary, depending on whether the Certificate of Statutory Completion or completion date comes first.

"The process will be simplified such that home buyers will only need to follow one sequence flow for the payment schedule," said URA.

(Source: URA)

Under the current Sale and Purchase Agreement, the one-year defects liability period will start after the 15th day upon receipt of the Temporary Occupation Permit payment or the date the unit is delivered to the buyer, whichever is earlier.

The home buyer's liability for maintenance charges will also start on the 15th day.

The revised defects liability period and buyer's liability for maintenance charges will be changed to the 35th day under the proposed amendments.

"The 35th day takes into account the 14 days for home buyers to make payment for the instalment due at TOP stage and the 21 days for developers to deliver vacant possession of the unit upon receipt of payment from the home buyer," said URA.

Source: CNA/az(mi)

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