Henderson HDB Horror: Landlord Converts Corridor into Illegal Kitchen, Puts Safety of Fellow Residents at Risk
In a Henderson HDB flat, an elderly man is accused of renting his flat to five tenants, earning SS$1,750 a month.
In doing so, he transformed the HDB corridor into a kitchen and storage area, where the five tenants cook, violating regulations and causing potential safety hazards.
Initial Reports of a “Junk House” First Filed in August
According to Lianhe Zaobao, a report was filed in August about a “junk house” on the 15th floor of Block 105 Henderson Crescent.
The elderly owner had turned his entire corridor into a makeshift kitchen, hoarding a large number of items like gas stoves, boxes, and pots in the area, leading to a foul smell and potential safety hazards.
The man also rented his unit to five foreigners, charging them S$350 per person a month.
(I mean, I’ve heard of innovation, but this is ridiculous.)
As such, neighbours took to various platforms like Stomp to voice their dissatisfaction and upset by the situation.
A man uploaded a video taken on 10 August 2023 to the platform, showing household appliances, storage boxes, and other furniture piling up from the corridor to the staircase landing.
The original poster (OP) claimed that the elderly man cooks and burns candles along the corridor “as if he has bought over the place already,” and that it had been going on for two years.
According to OP, the situation continued even after being brought up to the constituency’s Member of Parliament (MP).
When asked, the area’s Town Council responded that they were aware of the issue and the man’s severe hoarding problems.
They have helped clean up the corridor’s clutter several times this year, but the elderly man quickly piled up new items in the corridor.
“We are also closely cooperating with grassroots leaders and organisations to discuss how to help this male resident,” the Town Council concluded.
Reporters’ Visit Shed More Light on Situation
On 8 December 2023, reporters from Lianhe Zaobao made their way down to investigate the issue further.
It was indeed found that there was a bracket on the corridor filled with induction cookers, various kitchen utensils, a pushcart, and other miscellaneous items.
A tenant living in the unit happened to be outside during the visit, seemingly preparing to cook dinner in the corridor.
The tenant, a 22-year-old student, told reporters that he moved to the unit last month after being introduced to it by a friend. He also revealed that he is a college student, sharing the unit with four others.
“One person’s monthly rent is $350, and I and two friends live in one room. The other two share another room. The owner has his own room, but he rarely appears.”
The student said that before moving in, he was aware of the situation and believed that the living environment was acceptable.
He further clarified that they do not cook in the corridor during the day; they only cook instant noodles at night.
During the interview, Nishan tried to contact the owner for assistance but was unable to reach him.
Corridor Clutter Can Pose Severe Safety Risks for Residents
In an annual statistics report by the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF), there were 935 fire incidents in residential buildings, both private and public, in 2022.
99 of these cases were caused by irresponsible cluttering of common areas and disposal of lighted materials like cigarettes.
According to Tanjong Pagar Town Council, clutter in shared areas like corridors and staircase landings “can seriously hamper firefighting efforts and smooth evacuation in a fire emergency, endangering lives”.
They only permit the placement of a shoe rack near the entrance of the unit, as long as a minimum clear escape passage of 1.2m is maintained from the parapet wall.
Tanjong Pagar Town Council offers free bulky item removal services for tenants who require assistance.
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