Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No 2192 v Regenthill Properties Pte Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLai Siu Chiu J
Judgment Date19 February 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 26
Citation[2002] SGHC 26
Date19 February 2002
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 601164 of
Defendant CounselDawn Ho (Drew & Napier)
Plaintiff CounselLeo Cheng Suan (Infinitus Law Corp)
Publication Date19 September 2003
SubjectPleadings,'Other records',Particulars in originating summons,Words and Phrases,Construction of statute,Whether particulars sufficient to identify cause of action,Management Corporation applying for order to compel developers to hand over documents,s 39 Interpretation Act (Cap 1, 1999 Ed),s 37(4)(b) Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 1999 Ed),Whether management corporation failure to identify and itemise specific documents fatal to application,Applicability of s 39 of Interpretation Act (Cap 1, 1999 Ed) to relieve obligation,Statutory Interpretation,Literal or purposive approach,Whether statutory obligation on developers to hand over documents sought by management corporation,s 37(4) Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 1999 Ed),Civil Procedure,O 7 r 3(1) Rules of Court

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The background

The plaintiffs are a body corporate constituted under the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158), as the management corporation of the condominium building known as `Regent Park Condominium` (hereinafter referred to as `the condominium`). The defendants were the developers of the condominium.

On 6 January 1997, the temporary occupation permit (`TOP`) for the condominium was issued and the subsidiary proprietors of the subdivided building started paying contributions to the management fund set up by the defendants. The certificate of statutory completion was issued on 2 December 1997 and the plaintiffs were constituted on 20 April 1998; the plaintiffs held their first annual general meeting on 6 May 2000.

In early January 2001, the plaintiffs and the defendants exchanged correspondence through their respective solicitors; on 11 January 2001, the plaintiffs` solicitors wrote to the defendants demanding documents pursuant to s 37(4) of the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 1999 Ed) (`the Act`). By a fax dated 22 January 2001, the defendants` solicitors replied asking for particulars of the documents required to be handed over and attached therewith a list of the documents the defendants had already handed over to the plaintiffs on 5 June 2000.

On 7 February 2001, the plaintiffs` solicitors replied with a list of those documents which had not been handed over to the plaintiffs. Reminders were sent by the plaintiffs` solicitors on 12 March 2001 and 10 April 2001. By a fax dated 11 April 2001, the defendants` solicitors informed the plaintiffs` solicitors that their clients were arranging for the following documents to be transferred over to the plaintiffs:

(1) Term contractors` servicing record/reports including correspondence:
(a) Lift maintenance 2 files
(b) Security 2 files
(c) Cleaning 1 file
(d) Landscape 1 file
(e) Swimming pool 2 files
(f) Pest control 1 file
(g) Healthcare services 1 file
(h) Fire protection 1 file
(i) Security system 1 file
(j) Intercom system 1 file
(k) Air-con maintenance 1 file
(l) Refuse removal 1 file
(2) Correspondence between subsidiary proprietors/residents and MCST (1 file)
(3) Correspondence between government agencies and MSCT (1 file)
(4) Notices and circulars to residents (1 file)
(5) Record of residents` card charges (1 file)
(6) Record of complaints (1 file)



On 23 April 2001, the plaintiffs` solicitors wrote to the defendants` solicitors requesting the documents which formed the subject matter of this originating summons; I will revert to the list of documents later. On 25 April 2001, the defendants` solicitors replied to inquire under what provision(s) of the law the defendants were required to produce such documents to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs` solicitors replied on 19 June 2001 to say the request was made pursuant to ss 37 and 65 of the Act.

On 22 June 2001, the defendants` solicitors replied stating that in their view ss 37 and 65 of the Act were not applicable and there was no explicit duty on the defendants` part to hand over the accounting records, prior to the formation of the plaintiffs. By their letter dated 10 July 2001, the plaintiffs` solicitors maintained that the defendants were trustees of the plaintiffs and referred to s 10(2) of the Buildings and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act (Cap 30, 2000 Ed) (`the Management Act`).

On 12 July 2001, the defendants` solicitors wrote to the plaintiffs` solicitors stating that they were writing to the Commissioner of Buildings for clarification as to whether the defendants were obliged to hand over the accounting records. However, the unhelpful reply from the Commissioner of Buildings (dated 24 July 2001) was, that this was a matter of legal interpretation best left to the solicitors to advise their clients on. On 27 July 2001, the plaintiffs` solicitors wrote requiring the defendants` solicitors to furnish the documents requested by 30 July 2001, failing which the plaintiffs would commence proceedings, as the matter had been pending since January.

On 7 August 2001, the defendants` solicitors replied, stating that the defendants would, out of goodwill, allow the plaintiffs to inspect the accounting documents at their premises but that the documents could not be transferred over as the property in the documents remained vested in the defendants. This was not acceptable to the plaintiffs; hence, this originating summons was filed on 14 August 2001.

The documents in question

The documents requested in the plaintiffs` solicitors` letter of 23 April 2001 and in the originating summons are as follows:

(1) Accounting documents
(a) Payment vouchers TOP till May 1998
(b) Journal vouchers TOP till March 1998
(c) Cash book TOP till April 1998
(d) Cheque butts TOP till 19 October 1999
(e) Schedules (Notes of balance sheet) TOP till March 2000
(f) Bank statements - Multi-link TOP till October 1999
(g) Bank statements - Current TOP till April 1998
(h) Bank correspondence TOP till June 2000
(i) Financial statements TOP till March 1998
(j) Invoice/statement TOP till March 2000
(k) Official receipts TOP till May 1998
(l) Accounts receivable - interest computation TOP till June 1999
(m) Audit reports / Adjustment report TOP till April 1998
(n) Income tax file TOP till Y/A 1997
(o) Fixed deposits slip/statements TOP till May 1998
(p)
...

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1 cases
  • Regenthill Properties Pte Ltd v Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No 2192
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 5 July 2002
    ...The trial judge found that the documents came within the ambit of s 37 (4) (b) of the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 1999 Ed) (see [2002] 1 SLR (R) 253). On appeal by Regenthill, the issues were whether (a) the MC breached O 7 r 3 (1) of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed) as......

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