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Another bid to stop sale of Gillman Heights

A GROUP of minority owners at the Gillman Heights condominium is making another bid to stop the $548 million collective sale of the huge estate in Alexandra Road.

They filed a High Court appeal yesterday against last month’s decision by the Strata Titles Board (STB) to approve the sale to CapitaLand and other parties.

Among other things, the 22 disgruntled owners are appealing on the grounds that the sale of Gillman Heights should require consent from 90 per cent of owners, rather than the usual 80 per cent.

The rules say consent from 90 per cent of owners is required for estates less than 10 years old to be sold enbloc. For older estates, 80 per cent is needed.

The conflict over the required consent for Gillman Heights comes because it is a former Housing and Urban Development Company estate, said the minority owners’ lawyer, Mr Richard Tan, from legal firm Tan Chin Hoe & Co. It has engaged Senior Counsel Michael Hwang to act for the minority owners.

The minority owners point out that although the estate was completed in 1984, it was privatised only after a seven-year process that ended in 2002. They argue that this should be the date from which the age of Gillman Heights is calculated.

Majority owners say that 87.5 per cent of owners at the condominium signed the collective sale agreement, which places it outside a 90 per cent consent mark, Mr Tan said.

However, the minority owners are also contesting this figure. They say the original sale agreement expired before the STB heard the sale application while the subsequent supplementary agreement had signatures from less than 80 per cent of owners.

Another bone of contention is the estate’s price, Mr Tan said.

He said the majority owners’ valuation report valued the condominium at $530 million as of last February, when the estate was sold. But a separate report commissioned by the minority owners valued it at $660 million.

The Gillman Heights appeal follows similar legal battles over other collective sales.

The most high-profile case is that of Horizon Towers in Leonie Hill, where minority owners earlier this month filed a High Court appeal against STB’s go-ahead.

Other estates embroiled in legal collective sale tussles include Finland Gardens in Siglap, Regent Court in Serangoon Road and Airview Towers in St Thomas Walk.


Source: The Straits Times 17 Jan 08


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