http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/...ivacy-20140611

Privatised Serangoon North HUDC gets no privacy

Published on Jun 11, 2014 1:08 AM

By Janice Heng


THE former HUDC estate of Serangoon North is in a state of limbo, having gone private yet still lacking the means to keep non-residents out.

Comprising Blocks 128 to 134 in Serangoon North Avenue 1, it was privatised on May 8.

Yet neither a boundary fence nor a carpark gantry has gone up - a state of affairs which some residents bemoaned at a town hall meeting on Sunday night.

An estimated 100 or so residents turned up, out of the 244 flats in the estate.

One complaint was parking. A resident who declined to be named noted that many non-residents now use the carpark, yet nothing can be done.

The Housing Board is no longer in charge of the carpark, while the pro-tem committee for the privatisation does not have the power to take action.

Said business manager Lim Tiong Beng, 49: "Right now, legally, it looks like we're in a no man's land."

It is a similar story for the boundary fence. These are usually erected by town councils by the time the HUDC privatisation is complete, said property lawyer Carolyn Tan of Tan & Au LLP.

But this was not the case in Serangoon North.

Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council is now no longer in charge of the estate.

And as the pro-tem committee is temporary, it "will not be able to commit to something that takes time to execute", said property lawyer Peter Madhavan.

Residents can only wait till the annual general meeting to elect a management corporation strata title to manage the estate.

This may not happen until late next month or early August as various documents need to be submitted, said pro-tem committee chairman Richard Goh.

Residents will also have to see whether the amount received from the town council's sinking fund will be enough for a fence.

This is also the worry in Hougang Avenue 2 HUDC estate, which was privatised on May 23, and Hougang Avenue 7 estate, due to be privatised on Friday.

Another issue is the delay of addition and alteration works. Overseen by the HDB, these bring the estate up to current fire safety and barrier-free accessibility requirements.

They were originally expected to be done by end-2013, then by the first quarter of this year. The current estimate is the second half of the year.

HDB said this was due to constraints on the ground. For instance, not all carpark lots could be closed at the same time for carpark works to proceed.

"When you go around your estate and see that all this work is still ongoing, of course, there's unhappiness," said Mr Goh.

janiceh@sph.com.sg