Coastland Properties Pte Ltd v Lin Geok Choo

Judgment Date09 November 1999
Date09 November 1999
Docket NumberSuit No 765 of 1999
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Coastland Properties Pte Ltd
Lin Geok Choo

[1999] SGHC 293

Choo Han Teck JC

Suit No 765 of 1999

High Court

Contract–Remedies–Specific performance–Discretion–Effect of specific performance on third party to litigation–Damages in lieu–Equity–Remedies–Specific performance–Sale and purchase of immovable property subject to mortgage–Purchase price below redemption amount of mortgage–Mortgagor unable to discharge mortgage–Purchaser unwilling to pay balance to mortgagee–Whether order of specific performance should be granted–Land–Sale of land–Remedies under uncompleted contract–Whether specific performance appropriate remedy–Whether third-party rights adversely affected–Damages in lieu

The plaintiff contracted to sell a flat, which was subject to a mortgage to a bank, to the defendant. The plaintiff failed to complete and the defendant served the requisite notice to complete. The plaintiff then sought a declaration that the contract was null and void on the ground that the contract was subject to the mortgagee's consent which was not forthcoming. The defendant counterclaimed and sued for specific performance. After the trial had commenced, the plaintiff accepted that it was in breach of contract and consented to judgment for damages to be assessed, but resisted the claim for specific performance.

The defendant did not enquire with the mortgagee or its solicitors up to the start of the trial if the mortgagee consented to the proposed sale. The parties were unable to agree whether the contract price was below the redemption amount of the mortgage, although a letter from the mortgagee showed that the redemption amount was higher than the purchase price. There was no evidence as to who was to pay the balance due to the mortgagee, although the plaintiff gave evidence that it was in no position to discharge the mortgage.

Held, dismissing the plaintiff's claim by consent and awarding damages in lieu of specific performance to the defendant:

Specific performance was not granted as the court was not satisfied that granting the order would not prejudice the mortgagee. Since the plaintiff was unable to discharge the mortgage, the defendant had to do so. However, on the evidence, the defendant was not prepared to do so. She wanted to purchase the property at a bargain price but have the plaintiff pay the balance due on the mortgage to the mortgagee: at [3] and [7].

Lim Joo Toon (Joo Toon & Co) and Catherine Lim Chui Ling (Catherine Lim & Co) for the plaintiff

Susan Tang Mei Ling (Francis Khoo & Lim) for the defendant.

Choo Han Teck JC

1 The plaintiffs were the owners of a flat at River Valley Close. They contracted to sell the flat to the defendant purchaser for $650,000 on terms set out in an option agreement dated 15 March 1999. This was not disputed although the pleadings from both sides made no mention of the date of the option agreement save in the plaintiffs' prayer in their statement of claim. At the time of the contract the property was mortgaged to the OCBC bank. Nothing was mentioned in the pleadings nor affidavits of evidence as to what the redemption amount was. The plaintiffs failed to complete and the defendant through her solicitor served the requisite notice to complete within 21...

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4 cases
  • EC Investment Holding Pte Ltd v Ridout Residence Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 28 September 2011
    ...(R) 733; [2005] 1 SLR 733 (refd) Clark v Lucas Solicitors LLP [ 2010] 2 All ER 955 (refd) Coastland Properties Pte Ltd v Lin Geok Choo [1999] 3 SLR (R) 890; [2001] 1 SLR 72 (refd) Domowicz et al v Orsa Investments Ltd (1993) 15 OR (3d) 661 (refd) Dowsett v Reid (1912) 15 CLR 695 (refd) Exce......
  • Edwin Anak Omang v Jemin Anak Longunnewcares Sdn. Bhd V. Sri Alam Sdn. Bhd, 31-12-2013
    • Malaysia
    • High Court (Malaysia)
    • 31 December 2013
    ...lengthy excepts from the decision of Choo Han Teck JC (as His Lordship then was) 10 in Coastland Properties Pte. Ltd v. Lin Geok Choo [2001] 1 SLR 72 which basically said what has been legislated in those provisions and do not merit any reproduction in my judgment. Sale to Patimah binti Lem......
  • Wong Chee Siong and another v Tan Boon Hwa and another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 August 2010 quite like its neighbour ... [emphasis in original] This principle was acknowledged in Coastland Properties Pte Ltd v Lin Geok Choo [1999] 3 SLR(R) 890 [2], although Choo Han Teck JC concluded in that case that damages could still be an adequate remedy in some circumstances. There is als......
  • Lim Beng Cheng v Lim Ngee Sing
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 14 October 2015
    ... ... investor he bought properties for long-term investment. He maintained a ... “spare ... He cited Coastland ... Properties Pte Ltd v Lim Geok Choo [1993] 3 ... ...
2 books & journal articles
  • Contract Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2001, December 2001
    • 1 December 2001 argument, depending on the facts of the case in question. 9.95 The High Court decision of Coastland Properties Pte Ltd v Lin Geok Choo[2001] 1 SLR 72 emphasised a significant proposition in the context of the doctrine of specific performance which does not often arise for consideration —......
  • Equity, Trust and Restitution
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2001, December 2001
    • 1 December 2001
    ...had not been specifically given away, went to the State. EQUITY Specific performance 12.19 Coastland Properties Pte Ltd v Lin Geok Choo [2001] 1 SLR 72 is interesting on two matters. First, Choo Han Teck JC held that the remedy of specific performance is available in regard to a contract fo......

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