What Does The Law Say About En-Bloc Sales?

In general, if a development is older than 10 years, at least 80% of its owners must agree to sell their homes. The percentage increases to 90% if the development is less than 10 years old.

Under the 2007 Land Titles (Strata Act) amendments, other than the agreement by a pre-determined majority (based on either share value, share in land or notional share), they must take into account the total area of all the lots in the strata or flatted development.

For example, for developments that are older than 10 years old, besides getting 80% of the owners to agree (based on strata value), this 80% must also form no less than 80% of the total strata area (excluding the area of any accessory lot) or flats.

In the 2010 amendments, stricter restrictions were imposed, such as the enforcement of a 2-year hiatus after a failed first attempt. This is to prevent harassment of homeowners who had refused to sell their properties, as witnessed from the infamous case of the Laguna Park condo.

When the majority of the owners agree to sell a collective number of units, the whole development can be sold, much to the displeasure of the remaining dissenting owners.

What the En-Bloc Process Involves

Either external buyers or homeowners can initiate an en-bloc. The first step is for the homeowners to form a sales committee and appoint no more than three persons to represent the entire group.

The committee would have to seek professional advice from a legal consultant and marketing/property consultant as well as to obtain an independent valuation report from an independent valuer. These professionals will also have to advise on the proposed method of distributing sales proceeds and decide on the sale method, e.g. by auction or tender.

Once the committee is formed, they will have to persuade the majority (as defined by law) to sell and indicate their consent by signing a Collective Sale Agreement. This must be obtained within a year. Failure to do so will render the sale attempt invalid.

The 2010 amendments to the law also imposed new general meeting requirements and expanded the definition of what constituents a failed attempt. For instance, when the general meeting is unable to obtain 30% (by shared value of the development) within the hour, it is deemed as a failed attempt.

Once the committee has found a buyer and the sale is agreed upon, an application may be made to the Strata Titles Board who will then evaluate the application before making a decision. Do note that even at this stage, owners who do not agree to the sale can still raise their objections with the Board.

At the end of the day, a successful en-bloc sale is financially rewarding to both the homeowners and buyer(s), resulting in a win-win situation. The process, however, is long drawn and can take years before successful completion.