HDB not taking responsibility for building defects

I would like to file a complaint against a giant government organization – HDB.

And I am attaching the letter for your reference.

Thank you in advance for publishing this.


How low can the HDB go?

I stay in Pasir Ris and would like to share with all Singaporeans here an unpleasant episode with HDB – the government agency created to build HDB flats and to serve Singaporean’s housing needs.

Like the majority of Singaporeans, I am staying in a leased flat from HDB. It is a flat built more than 20 years ago by building contractors awarded by HDB. Unfortunately in the last few years there is a leak in the ceiling of my toilets causing the entire ceiling paint to peel. This also resulted in me repainting the ceiling every year and spending a considerable sum of money. As a result of this, I have asked HDB to evaluate the problem. HDB came down and evaluated and concluded that the leaking is due to the flooring damaged on the upper unit.

Subsequently HDB sent me a letter directing me to work with the owner of the upper unit to repair the leakage within our own expenses. HDB also stated categorically that the maintenance of each unit is the responsibility of the lessee. And HDB concluded that the flooring must have been damaged by the contractor during the renovation of the flooring in the unit.

I find the explanation of HDB hard to accept.

Each of the contractor that is given work for renovation is approved by HDB and certified to be of good standing. If these contractors have done a bad job, whose responsibility is it? Apparently from the way HDB puts it, it is the responsibility of the lessee. I can understand HDB’s stand. It is better just to build flats and let the lessee solve any problem that comes with it.

But I cannot agree with the way they solve this problem. In the first place, the leakage could be caused by poor workmanship during the construction of the building. For all we know, HDB could have used poor quality materials that have deteriorated after a certain number of years to save on costs, and put clauses in each Sales and Purchase Agreement so that any problem that results in poor workmanship is the responsibility of the lessee.

Even if the leakage is caused by the renovation contractor, these contractors are already certified by HDB to be able to provide renovation services that meet certain standards. Or is the HDB telling me that the certification of these contractors is of no bearing to the quality, than why certify them in the first place.

I am quite certain that many Singaporeans have faced this problem and being issued a letter directing them to solve this problem among themselves. I am also quite sure that we inadvertently are left with no other option but to spend money to solve this problem which should have been the responsibility of HDB.

It has been more than a month now since I have brought this issue to HDB and left with a bad taste in my mouth, not including the attitude of government employees which I shouldn’t mention as it would make this letter even more distasteful. HDB – the government organization that is tasked with serving the needs of Singaporeans and building high-rise accommodation for the majority of Singaporeans have stooped so low. They have stooped so low to pass on the responsibility to the citizens so that they can continue to build below par accommodation for citizens while creating inconvenience and possibly even endangering the lives of people staying in HDB flats.

I remember our Prime Minister saying in his Labour Day message recently that he strives for better lives for Singaporean and I can safely conclude he might not mean better lives for us but for government organizations like HDB – where people can run away from being responsible for the problems they created.

Mr. Leong

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