Resident loses bid to recover service fees from AHPETC

The Small Claims Tribunal has dismissed a Hougang resident's bid to get a refund of the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) she had paid to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

Some residents of the 680-unit Parkland Residences development told The Straits Times yesterday that the decision was made on Monday when the case between corporate travel manager Melinda Teo, 37, and AHPETC was heard. The residents said they were not aware of the reason for the tribunal's decision.

In June, the Workers' Party-run town council told unit owners that they had to pay their S&CC from the time they collected the keys to their flats.

Ms Teo, who lodged her claim to the tribunal last month, had wanted the town council to return to her $367.20 as she said it did not manage the estate between last November and May this year.

The council took over the management and maintenance of Parkland Residences - a Design, Build and Sell Scheme - only on June 1.

The tribunal's decision disappointed residents such as Ms Jena Woon. She wrote on a Facebook page for Parkland residents: "Though expected but still unhappy..." But there were others who did not begrudge paying the S&CC.

Before then, the project's developer Kwan Hwee Investment had been asked by the HDB to clean the common areas as an impasse between AHPETC and the Housing Board had delayed the council taking over of the management and maintenance.

Workers' Party chief and Aljunied GRC MP Low Thia Khiang told residents in a June newsletter that part of the fees would be used to reimburse the developer for its cleaning services and part would be transferred to the sinking fund.

The tribunal's decision disappointed residents such as Ms Jena Woon. She wrote on a Facebook page for Parkland residents: "Though expected but still unhappy, it's a fact that they (AHPETC) are not really doing their job."

But others who did not begrudge paying the S&CC said cleaning standards had improved.

A resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said he saw "next to zero cleaning" when he moved into his home in the first quarter of this year. But since last month, cleaners spruced up the estate daily, he said.

Mr Tan also said he was concerned by the lack of communication to residents by the developer and AHPETC on how much of the collected fees were going to the developer.

Ms Teo, who had collected more than 300 signatures from fellow residents to petition AHPETC to waive its S&CC, declined to comment yesterday.

AHPETC did not respond to queries last night.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Resident loses bid to recover service fees from AHPETC'. Print Edition | Subscribe