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High Court sides with couple in renovation tussle

Singapores High Court has reversed a district judges decision that a couple -- Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Ng Boo Han and his wife Audrey-Ann Koo Oi Lian -- should pay their neighbour $47,000 as compensation for renovating their house into an English country-style home, said media reports.

Instead, the court ordered the renovator Edward Teo to pay the couple more than $67,000 for delivering inferior work and for failing to remedy defects.

In a ruling published yesterday (22 December), Judicial Commissioner Edmund Leow gave credence to the report of a surveyor, who was hired by the couple to look into the defects of their revamped home.

Specifically, Leow upheld the claims for six of 15 allegedly flawed items like the use of a zinc roof instead of one made from ceramic tiles as stipulated in the contract and the installation of a 4mm-thick glass panel for the study room, which is considered too thin by industry standards.

The Judicial Commissioner said the district judge made a mistake when he dismissed the couples counterclaim for rectification costs due to inconsistencies in their evidence.

Even assuming that no repair work had been carried out, the fact still remains that there were defects in Teos work that required rectification.

However, he rejected claims for other defective items, such the timber deck as the couple had failed to specify in the contract that they wanted a stronger material.

In total, Leow awarded $107,617 in damages to the couple, including $99,250 for correcting defects. After deducting the $40,000 owed to the renovator, Teo was ordered to pay the couple $67,617 with an interest of 5.33 percent per annum.

Muneerah Bee, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories emailmuneerah@propertyguru.com.sg

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