The Housing and Development Board (HDB) needs to be given more power so it can enter flats to carry out repairs, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a blogpost on Monday (Dec 22).
Mr Khaw cited cases of ceiling leaks remaining unresolved for weeks and even months due to uncooperative neighbours.
“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.”
According to Mr Khaw, 30 per cent of ceiling leak cases – about 2,800 cases – take more than three months to resolve when the upper-floor residents were uncooperative. “In some rare cases, the resolution of the ceiling leak problem could take more than a year. This is just not satisfactory,” he wrote.
“They refuse to allow entry by the HDB to the flat to investigate and carry out repairs. This delays the repair unnecessarily and meanwhile, the lower-floor residents suffer the inconveniences. We need to do more to help our residents who are inconvenienced by their neighbours who refuse to cooperate.”
About 25 per cent of the complaints that HDB receives concern ceiling leakages in flats, he said. The responsibility for maintaining the flats and addressing such leakages fall on both the upper and lower floor flats.
However, HDB has a Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme to subsidise repair costs for residents. Under the scheme, HDB will engage its term contractors to investigate the leakage and carry out the repairs. HDB will bear 50 per cent of the cost with the other half shared equally by the upper and lower floor flat owners. On average, flat owners pay about S$180 for each ceiling leak repair, HDB said, with about 140,000 households benefiting from the scheme since it was introduced in 2001.