Your Letters

Give residents breakdown of service and conservancy fees

Mr Ong Boon Hua is right to ask for a breakdown of the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) ("Higher service, conservancy fees soon for most HDB residents"; Feb 18).

It has been only three years since the last increase in the S&CC in 2014. How did the town councils determine the amount to raise the S&CC by?

How are operating expenses calculated, given that different estates have flats that are of different design, size and age?

S&CC should not be a standardised amount for all flats, as facilities, amenities, improvement works, lift maintenance, and sanitary, electrical and mechanical services vary with the different flat types.

Newer flats do not require so much work, so it seems like these owners are subsidising the owners of older flats.

Newer flats do not require so much work, so it seems like these owners are subsidising the owners of older flats.

Similarly, town council cleaning contracts cover blocks, open spaces and multi-storey carparks. But many residents - especially those living in one- to three-room flats - do not own cars or motorbikes and do not use the carparks.

Yet they are paying the same S&CC as those who do own motor vehicles.

Shared maintenance costs, community ownership and responsibilities were not much of an issue when the economy was doing well.

However, it is jarring now because there is a higher cost of living, wages are increasing more slowly, and the retrenchment and unemployment rate is on the rise.

Even with government subsidies for the S&CC, owners who are asset rich but cash poor will find the increase harder to bear.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'Give residents breakdown of service and conservancy fees'. Print Edition | Subscribe