Chief Editor January 06 2023

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Delayed completion for new condo and compensation for late TOP

The last thing a buyer wants is that their new home will be delayed for another 6 months after waiting for so many years since the project launch date. 

Not many buyers have an existing home to fall back on while waiting for the completion of their new launch condominium. Unless they are staying with their parents while waiting for the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) of the project.

Therefore, most of these new launch buyers would have signed at least a two years lease to rent an apartment at a public HDB flat or a private residential property. 

The Tre Ver in Potong Pasir and Avenue South Residence in Silat Avenue had their TOP date delayed by approximately 4 to 6 months.

Its property developer, UOL Group, attributes the delayed completion to shortage of construction materials and foreign labour amid the supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Given the sky high rental since the pandemic, some of these homeowners might regret buying a new launch project instead of a resale private property.

Firstly, a resale condo is definitely cheaper than a new launch in terms of per square foot (PSF) by a few hundred dollars. 

Secondly, the standard legal completion for a resale condo is 10 to 12 weeks or up to 3 months. So, you save the unnecessary overheads to rent a house elsewhere which can easily amount to $100,000 for two to three years lease. This savings could be translated into major renovation to turn your resale unit into a brand new home. 

Buying a new launch condo does not mean that you do not need to renovate the house. It is a basic house with flooring, kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, sanitary fittings as well as genric white goods such as oven and stove. There will be no lights and curtains. Most homeowners spend at least a month to rectify the defects for the newly TOP projects. In the worst case scenario, there might be water seepage between units. Defects check is a cumbersome and time consuming process.

Your renovation works cannot commence until the property developer has rectified your house defects. Else, they will assume that your contractor caused the defects.

From the day you collect the keys from the developer till the day you move into your house after renovation, it will take approximately 3 months. Therefore, any delay in the date of vacant possession will be disastrous for any homeowners. 

If the TOP date was on time, the new homeowners would not need to wait until 2023 to sign a renovation contract and paying one per cent more in Goods and Service Tax (GST) rate.

One of the owners from The Tre Ver lamented the delays meant that she had to move between rental accommodations not once but twice, resulting in a higher rent and unnecessary mover cost. 

For short term six months lease, the rent premium is often 25% higher than a two years lease. Most landlords prefer a long term lease to lock in the high rent while it lasts. 

How to check the legal completion date for my condo?

Refer to your Sale & Purchase Agreement (S&PA) and look for Vacant Possession Date.

This is the legal deadline by which property developers must deliver a newly completed unit to you.

Do not rely on “Expected Date of Vacant Possession” or “Expected Date of Completion” in the marketing brochure for the new launch projects.

How to seek compensation for delayed completion to my new condominium?

The property developer may be liable to pay to the Purchaser liquidated damages if vacant possession of the Property is delivered to the Purchaser after the Vacant Possession Date mentioned in Sale & Purchase Agreement (S&PA).

The liquidated damages is computed on a daily basis at the rate of 10% per annum on the total sum of all the instalments paid by the Purchaser towards the Purchase Price, and are payable commencing on the start date until vacant possession of the Property is delivered to the Purchaser.

The S&PA contracts in Singapore are approved by the Controller of Housing (COH) to protect the interest of new home buyers. 

Contact your conveyancing lawyer to seek professional advice to claim compensation for delayed completion.