Homeowner expected renovations to be completed before Oct, contractor says he never promised

The New Paper
Oct 28, 2022

She was excited to move into her new home, but her family of six have since found themselves sleeping on air mattresses while the kitchen lacks a stove or sink, and the windows are covered with newspapers.

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Jane said she purchased her Pasir Ris flat in February. 

Shortly after, the 45-year-old housewife was introduced – through her niece – to a contractor to do the renovation work. 

"He estimated the renovation costs to be about $45,000,” Jane said. “He promised to start work in early September, and that he would hand over the house before October.”

Before renovations began, Jane said the contractor told her he had to purchase materials beforehand and would require a deposit.

Jane paid a deposit of $20,000 on March 1. 

"Renovation work started on Sept 5 and during this period the contractor kept asking me to pay the remaining sum," she said. "I have paid $46,360 in total."

But by the end of the month, the house was still incomplete. 

When Shin Min visited the flat recently, work for the kitchen and the toilet had been completed. But the kitchen lacked a stove, a sink and cabinets. The living room and bedrooms were incomplete as well. 

"The renovation was stopped halfway, and the house isn't painted. Our furniture can't be delivered as well," Jane said, while tearing up. 

For about a month now, the family of six have been sleeping on air mattresses, and their windows covered with newspapers. 

Jane said she has filed a police report over the matter.

"(The contractor) previously told us he had a manpower shortage, and needed the authorities' approval before he could continue the renovation, but there's been no update since. 

"He doesn't answer my calls and only replies to messages. He says he'll refund me but hasn't done so. I can't find another contractor to finish the job," said Jane, adding that she was upset that her family couldn't celebrate Deepavali on Oct 24 at their new home. 

Jane's husband, Alan, also complained that the electrical work done by the contractor was shoddy, as the power would trip whenever he used a few electrical appliances at once.

When contacted by Shin Min, the contractor – who declined to be named – had some gripes of his own. 

He said he never promised to complete the renovation work by October, and claimed that Jane and Alan would constantly interfere with his work. 

"After (Alan) scolded my workers, they refused to work. I've tried my best to accede to most of his requests, but I didn't make any promises."

The contractor said that he's still waiting on the authorities' approval, and intends to complete the job soon after. 

He added that he would refund Jane and Alan for the incomplete work, but had to calculate the exact amount. 

Stating that he had over 15 years’ experience in the industry and a good reputation, he said: "I regret taking this project. If we can't come to an agreement, then we'll settle it through legal means." 

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