Hougang DBSS resident files court application to demand refund of fees from AHPETC

A resident of a new HDB development in Hougang has gone to court to obtain a refund for the service and conservancy charges she paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council.
A resident of a new HDB development in Hougang has gone to court to obtain a refund for the service and conservancy charges she paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A resident of a new Housing Board development in Hougang has gone to court to obtain a refund for the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) she paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Corporate travel manager Melinda Teo, 37, lodged a report with the Small Claims Tribunal on Monday, in a bid to get back the $367.20 that she paid in S&CC between November last year and May this year.

Ms Teo, who lives in the 680-unit Parkland Residences, a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project, said she should not have to pay the fees to the Workers' Party-run town council as it took over the management and maintenance of the property only on June 1.

Before that, the project's developer, Kwan Hwee Investment, had to step in to clean the common areas.

Earlier this month, more than 300 residents of Parkland Residences sent a petition to the town council demanding to have their S&CC waived or refunded. But their appeal was not answered by either the town council or the Workers' Party MPs, said Ms Teo.

However, an AHPETC spokesman had said in response to media queries earlier this month that the town council would have to compensate Kwan Hwee Investment for the maintenance work done before June 1. As such, it cannot return the S&CC to residents, it told reporters.

Following Ms Teo's move to take court action, a representative of AHPETC must attend a meeting at the Small Claims Tribunal on July 2, according to a court document issued to the town council.

Otherwise, an order could be given against the town council in its absence. The order could include a mandatory compensation to the claimant for claims below $10,000.

Ms Teo said she decided to go down the legal route as "our emails and petition have only received the silent treatment from the MPs and town council." She added that several neighbours have expressed interest in filing similar claims with the tribunal.