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Case Studies

Illegal Addition/ Alteration
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Owners, buyers in court over alleged assurance that an extension to the terrace house was legal. (ST 25 June 1998)
The buyers, Mr Heng Fook Seng and his wife, Madam Peggy Kuah, accused the sellers of not telling them that a certain extensions on the corner terrace unit were not approved by authorities.  They sued the sellers for the return of their money.
The sellers, Mr Lee Geok Liu and his wife, Madam Chan Kun Yoke, are counter-suing the buyings, claiming the the buyer's refusal to withdraw their legal claim (Cavest) on the property had made it impossible for them to sell it to others.

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2. What do I need to know?

When buying a property in a project with more than 4 housing units, you should ensure that the developer has a sale licence issued by the Controller of Housing (COH). All licensed developers are required to use the prescribed Option to Purchase and Sale & Purchase (S&P) Agreement in selling their projects. The developers have to seek COH's prior approval if they wish to amend any of the terms in the prescribed forms. Any amendments to the S&P Agreement will be shown in a separate schedule attached to the prescribed S&P Agreement.

When buying a strata-titled residential property, particularly a resale property, you must ensure that the property do not have any unauthorised works or extensions. This is important as you may face enforcement action should the unauthorised works or extensions be brought to the attention of URA.

If you are not a Singaporean citizen, we advice that you first check on the restrictions on foreign ownership of land which is regulated by the Singapore Land Authority.

3. How do I know if the property housed unauthorised works or structures?

To check, you could request from the seller of the property a copy of the approved plans.

Alternatively, you may apply to URA for a search and purchase of the approved plans by using the application form REQUISITION FOR PLANNING RECORDS. You can download the application form from here.

4. What must I do if I want to cover the roof terrace or private enclosed space?

Where the roof terrace or private enclosed space is not covered and you wish to cover them (i.e. have a roof over), you must apply to URA for approval.

There are certain planning considerations that URA will make when processing your application. If the subject property has already been developed to its maximum plot ratio allowed, URA is unlikely to support the application to cover up the roof terrace or private enclosed space. In situations where URA allows the application that is above the plot ratio control, the owner may have to pay development charge.

Development charge is a levy paid on a development that exceeds the approved plot ratio control. There is a fixed formula for the calculation of the charge. The fees are reviewed every six months to keep in pace with market changes. Click here for more information.

To know more about how to obtain approval from URA, click here.

5. Do I have to pay a search fee for the approved plans?

A fee of $250 (subject to GST) is payable to URA to do the search. A set of the approved plans will cost another $50 (subject to GST).

6. What to do when there are defects in your new home?

The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) has published a booklet to advise homebuyers on what to do when there are defects in the new home, the process of getting the defects corrected and the possible ways to settle any dispute relating to the defects. Copies of the booklet can be obtained from BCA at 5 Maxwell Road, #02-00 or #16-00 Tower Block MND Complex, Singapore 069110.

You can also download the booklet here.


7. What must I do if I want to carry out additions/alteration works within the strata units?

Generally, internal renovation works within your strata unit do not require planning permission. However, renovation works which affect the external fašade of the building or result in an increase in Gross Floor Area will require approval from URA. For such proposed A/A works within strata units, you would need to notify all the subsidiary proprietors of the proposed A/A works and that no objection is received from any subsidiary proprietors via the notification form, MC/MCST/DLAA before your submission. To download the notification form, please click here.

The above requirement is only applicable to non-conservation strata-titled residential properties.

Building Control Authority

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