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It's actually only 1,900 sq ft. (ST 11/4/1997
A couple put down a $141,500 deposit on a Pasir Panjang terrace house which they were told had a built-in area of 2,5000 sq.ft.
When they started making renovation plans, they found the area to be far less, at only about 1,900 sq.ft.
So they called off the deal, and went to court to get their money back.
They were successful. Mr Ng Buay Hock and his wife saw a newspaper advertisement said the property had a land area of 1750 sq ft and a built-in area of 2,400 sq ft.
The Ngs were living in a flat then.
They visited the house on two occasions during which the agent, Mr Geoffrey Lim, told them that the built-in area was about 2,500 sq ft. The seller Mr Tan Keng Huat, confirmed the fugure too, said the Ngs.
The Ngs and the tans struck a deal at $1.43 million.
"Six days later, the Ngs' solicitors told the Ngs that the land area had been found to be only 1,708 sq ft not 1,750 sq ft.
The Ngs negotiated with the Tans for a reduction in the purchase price.
Both parties finally agreed to a price of $1.415 million.
But a bigger shock awaited the Ngs when they exercised their option to purchase and started making renovation plans.
They learnt that the built-in area measured only about 1,900 sq.ft. and called off the deal.
Justice Warren Khoo, whose decision was reported recentlty in the Academy Digest, held that the Tans be responsible for the misrepresentation.
Mr Tan denied giving his agent, Mr Lim, information about the built-in area, and denied responsibility for his agent.
He said it was Mr Lim who exaggerated the size of the built-in area.
Justice Khoo ruled otherwise, saying that it was more likely than not that Mr Tan had told Mr Lim that the built-in area was 2,500 sq ft.
And Mr Tan should not deny liability for Mr Lim's representations to the buyers, the judge added.
To the judge, Mr Tan clearly know that his agent had advertised the built-in area first as 2,400 sq ft and, in subsequent advertisements, 2,500 sq ft.
He ordered the Tans to return to the Ngs the deposit and pay for the $8,207 conveyancing costs with interest.

In another case, the High Court overturned the decision, and told they buyers they had to forfeit the option fee for the Upper East Coast Road house.
Judicial Commisioner Lim Teong Qwee said that there was no evidence that the buyers, who had seen the property, had relied on the advertisment which had been placed in The Straits Times. The property was also 2.3 per cent smaller than advertised, he said.
In the law, a person who alleges that he has been given false information must show that he also relied on this misrepresentation.
The court also had to decide whether a statement that a property is 9,000 sq ft when it is about 8,800 sq ft was a misrepresentation. In law a representation is false when there is a substantial difference between the representation and the fact.
Five lawyers said they had cases where statements  - about the property "being renovated for a few hundred thousand dollars" or the size of the land or its potential for rental - had been challenged  unsuccessfully.

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