SINGAPORE - The Housing Board should be given the power to enter a flat in order for repair works to be carried out more promptly, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday.
He wrote in a blog post: "We need to do more to help our residents who are inconvenienced by their neighbours who refuse to cooperate. Minimally, HDB should be given the power to enter the flat for the purpose of carrying out the necessary investigations and repairs. We will need to amend the legislation to empower the HDB to do so."
Each year, about 2,800 - or 30 per cent of - ceiling leak cases take more than three months to resolve due to uncooperative neighbours, he wrote. He was referring to upper-floor residents who refuse entry by the HDB to investigate and carry out repairs for ceiling leaks.
"In some rare cases, the resolution of the ceiling leak problem could take more than a year. This is just not satisfactory," he said, adding that in the majority of cases, repair works such as waterproofing have to be done within the upper-floor units.
"This delays the repair unneccesarily and meanwhile, the lower-floor residents suffer the inconveniences."
Mr Khaw added that ceiling leakages make up about a quarter of the complaints that the HDB receives.
He also pointed out that the HDB's Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme, which helps residents with subsidised repair costs, has benefited 140,000 households since its inception in 2001. Under the scheme, the HDB bears 50 per cent of the repair costs, with the other half shared equally by upper and lower floor flat owners. On average, flat owners pay about $180 for each ceiling leak repair.