• Published Date: 23 Nov 2019

    HDB's Reply

     

    Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme helps fix leaks quickly, affordably
    Date: 23 Nov 2019

     

    We refer to Mr Andrew Tan Kok Chua's letter (Review how Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme deals with leaks, Nov 13).

    Flat owners are responsible for the maintenance of the interior of their flats. The repair of leaks in the floor slab between flats is a joint responsibility between upper-and lower-floor flat owners. 

    Hence, when there is a leak, both upper-and lower-floor flat owners need to liaise with one another to investigate and carry out repairs. 

    It is important for lower-floor flat owners to approach their upper-floor neighbours when there are early signs of leaks, so the issue can be resolved quickly. 

    To help flat owners resolve ceiling leaks arising from natural wear and tear over time, and keep the repair cost affordable for both flat owners, HDB offers assistance through the Goodwill Repair Assistance (GRA) scheme. 

    Under it, repair works are carried out at affected areas in both the upper-and lower-floor units. HDB pays 50 per cent of the repair cost, while the remaining 50 per cent is shared equally between the upper-and lower-floor flat owners. 

    Once both flat owners agree to take up the GRA, HDB will arrange for a contractor to carry out the repair works. 

    This could include laying a new waterproof membrane on the floor of the upper-floor unit, and applying skim coating, sealer and paint to the ceiling of the lower floor unit. 

    We note that Mr Tan had taken up the offer of GRA and his ceiling leak had been resolved in July 2018. 

    As the GRA is meant to resolve leaks in the floor slab between flats caused by wear and tear, it does not cover damage to personal fixtures and fittings like lighting, cabinets, shower screens, and so on, installed by flat owners. 

    Such claims are to be sorted out by private negotiations between flat owners.

     

    Michelle Ng 
    Director 
    Housing Maintenance 
    Housing and Development Board

     

     

    Letter to The Straits Times

     

    Review how Goodwill Repair Assistance scheme deals with leaks
    Date: 13 Nov 2019

    From: Andrew Tan Kok Chua

     

    For a water leak to occur on a Housing Board flat ceiling (typically toilet or kitchen), there must be a fault with a path of least resistance that allows the water to flow from a high point to low point. 

    The construction of an HDB flat toilet floor consists of the floor tiles on top of concrete, followed by a waterproof membrane and another layer of concrete that forms the ceiling of the flat below. 

    When a water leak occurs, which party, the upper floor flat owner or the lower floor flat owner, has the responsibility to ensure the toilet floor tiles, concrete and waterproof membrane are maintained properly? 

    Surely the lower floor flat owner has the least influence and is the one suffering the consequences of a leak. 

    Under the HDB's Goodwill Repair Assistance (GRA) scheme, HDB will pay 50 per cent of repair costs, and the upper and lower flat owners co-share the remaining 50 per cent. The scope of repair work does not include rectification work for any damage suffered by the lower floor flat from the leak. 

    When I encountered a problem, HDB advised me (the owner of the lower floor flat) to make a claim from the owner of the flat above. 

    Perhaps it is time to review and revise the rules. The guiding principle ought to be cause and effect, and no party should be disadvantaged. 

    HDB may want to consider: What is the best in class practice to prevent and deal with water leakage? 

    Adopt a party at fault and victim approach so as to put the onus on owners to properly maintain the flat. 

    Alternatively, revise the existing GRA to either make the party at fault pay a larger portion of repair costs, or make the scope of GRA cover the cost of repairing damage suffered by the owner of the lower flat as a result of water leakage. 

    As HDB flats age, there will be more incidents of water leakage that affect residents.