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1. Written by News on 01-06-2009 03:40
 
 
Majority owners lose appeal
THE Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed an appeal by the majority owners of Regent Garden who oppose a $34 million collective sale deal with Allgreen Properties. 
 
The appeal was lodged on May 15, 2008, by 23 of 25 majority owners of the 31-unit project, who were unhappy that Allgreen made extra payments totalling $2 million to six minority owners who initially opposed the collective sale. 
 
The appeal was lodged after Allgreen obtained an order from the High Court on April 16, 2008, compelling the majority owners to complete the sale and purchase of Regent Garden. 
 
Four months earlier in January 2008, the Strata Titles Board rejected the sale on the grounds that the valuation was too low and the deal was not done in good faith. 
 
In its judgement, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of the majority owners, saying that there was nothing in the agreement between buyer and seller, or the law, to prohibit Allgreen making additional payments to the minority owners. 
 
The Court of Appeal also reiterated that the Land Titles Strata Act exists to protect minority owners and not to protect majority owners from their own ‘improvident’ bargain. 
 
Allgreen, represented by Davinder Singh of Drew and Napier, also relied on an affidavit of Knight Frank managing director Tan Tiong Cheng which said: ‘It is also my experience that it is not uncommon for the developer to contribute to the payment of the premium to the minority owners to procure their consent to the collective sale.’ 
 
On whether the collective sale was done in good faith, the Court of Appeal said: ‘A purchaser does not owe any duty of care, much less duty of good faith, to a vendor of property in relation to the price of the property. The general principle is caveat emptor.’ 
 
In its concluding observations, the court said collective sales committees that do not want to find themselves in a similar predicament vis-a-vis incentive payments can easily make provision for similar contingencies by providing for them in the sale-and-purchase agreement.
 
2. Written by News on 20-05-2008 16:54
 
 
File appeal despite sale completion
ONE of Singapore’s most unusual collective sale disputes, over Regent Garden, is now headed for the Court of Appeal even though the sale was completed yesterday. 
 
Last month, the High Court ruled that the $34 million sale of the West Coast Road condo to Allgreen Properties must go ahead. 
 
But now, the owners of 23 out of the 31 Regent Garden apartments have filed papers to take the case to Singapore’s highest court - the Court of Appeal. 
 
They cannot overturn the sale now that it has been completed, but they want the court to rule on certain ‘burning’ questions, and they might seek remedies if they succeed. 
 
In a statement, the sale committee said: ‘These questions include whether, in a situation where a minority of owners object to a proposed collective sale, an intending buyer is permitted to go behind the backs of the majority owners and reach a side deal with the minority owners.’ 
 
A spokesman for the majority owners said the ’side deal’ referred to the fact that six of the owners who had opposed the sale had received an extra $2 million, divided between them, in return for withdrawing their objections. 
 
Those appealing also want to know whether these minority owners are entitled to retain the extra payments without sharing the sum with the majority owners in accordance with the distribution arrangements in the sale agreement. 
 
All the owners at Regent Garden completed their sale, which means they would each have pocketed a large part of their proceeds, which range from slightly over $700,000 to $1.4 million. 
 
The remaining 5 per cent of their proceeds is due to be released to them when they vacate their homes.
 
3. Written by News on 17-04-2008 13:55
 
 
Stop-start en bloc
The stop-start en bloc sale of Regent Garden, a 31-unit West Coast Road condominium, to Allgreen Properties looks set to finally go through after the High Court yesterday directed the majority owners to complete the agreement. The court also ruled that the Strata Titles Board's decision in January to reject the deal was irrelevant and ordered the majority owners to pay costs to Allgreen, the developer.
 

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