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HDB explains to irate flat owner that defects liability period for flat has expired

Ms Wee, one of the residents at the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), The Peak at Toa Payoh filed a complaint with the Housing Development Board (HDB) after having a huge long crack appearing on her balcony door.

Ms Wee wrote to the HDB, "My balcony door has a huge long crack that suddenly appeared without any impact of any sort. I am worried that it will break further and hurt my toddler and preschooler."

cracked screen

The reply by HDB is as followed,

"Our inspection on 11 Aug 2015 revealed that there is a crack on the bottom left area of 2nd panel master bedroom glass sliding door towards the master bedroom balcony area. We wish to explain that the flat purchasers have entered into a Sale and Purchase (S&P) agreement directly with the developer.

We wish to inform that the defects liability period under Clause 17 of the Sale and Purchase Agreement is 12 months from the date you receive the Notice of Vacant Possession. The defects liability period for your flat has since expired on 4 Jun 2013.

We understand that the developer has replied to you pertaining to your feedback on the master bedroom sliding door. To address your safety concerns, you may engage own contractor to proceed with the replacement accordingly."

Frustration due to multiple defects

In Ms Wee's reply to HDB, she claimed that the developer has yet replied to her query. She also exclaimed that despite living in her former flat at Toa Payoh Lorong 2 for more than 2 decades prior to moving, she never had a sliding door glass or any of her windows for that matter, crack in this manner for no rhyme or reason.

She therefore thinks it is probobly either there was a hairline crack in the window, not visible to the human eye (just like the MBR toilet's ceiling's waterproofing was broken by their worker whilst installing the brackets) or the material is not good.

"These are things I cannot figure out before the DLP is up right? But the built of it definitely has issues IMHO. It's been less than three years since we moved in. Call me baffled." said Ms Wee.

She added that she thinks it is terribly unfair that residents have been charged an arm and a leg for the DBSS flats, and then realize that lousy materials were used and then have to further pay to fix the issue.

"I frankly cannot afford to fix it with three kids on a single income. We never imagined this sort of incident could happen neither did could we possible imagine that the DBSS flats are of such inferior make and quality. HDB must not assume if people live in DBSS flats, they must be rich and be able to afford such repairs. Financial circumstances can change." said Ms Wee.

She asked HDB to advice me on how she can request for further assistance in this matter as she is not willing to have to take on the burden of replacing this glass door.

Referring to the existing defects in her HDB flat, Ms Wee lamented, "We already have so many things to replace in less than two years - cabinet doors have warped, bathroom fixtures were not working slightly after a year, kitchen tap is rusting after the 1.5 years mark. The cost to replace all that is already phenomenal for a single income family."

The recent cases of DBSS's defects have been a hot topic among citizens in the past few months.

For example, Pasir Ris ONE, drew national attention for its narrow corridor, badly designed ceiling of the corridor, and for its poor workmanship within the units.

In June, and in response to these complaints, the HDB said most of the flaws were “surface imperfections”.

Minister of National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan has so far not said much about the complaints, except that homeowners can send their feedback to MND and the HDB, and they would see if they could assist homeowners after looking into the cases.