October 3, 2023


Specialists in home interior

Singapore studying possible law change on renovation fraud

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Dwelling Affairs (MHA) is researching if there is scope to amend present laws to make it a lot easier to build fraud in cases where renovation works are not carried out.

In reaction to a parliamentary question by MP Murali Pillai (PAP-Bukit Batok) on renovation fraud, Minister for Dwelling Affairs and Law K Shanmugam explained in a penned answer on Monday (Jul 4) that the police investigated 100 scenarios involving errant renovation contractors concerning 2019 and 2021. 

So considerably, 72 of these conditions have been prosecuted in court docket, he said, introducing that the ministry is not able to offer aspects of circumstances that transpired this yr as investigations are ongoing.

Mr Shanmugam claimed that renovation fraud typically entails contractors acquiring victims to make payment for promised renovation performs, which are possibly partially finished or not carried out at all.

“In most of these cases, the contractors become uncontactable following accumulating payment, or provide excuses to reveal why they ended up unable to complete the promised functions,” he said.

Contractors who deceive victims into inserting deposits with out any intent to have out renovation works can be charged with dishonest offences underneath portion 420 of the Penal Code.

“In some conditions there could be genuine small business distress, and the contractor might not have been ready to do the work,” claimed Mr Shanmugam.

“Further more, the place the economic predicament variations quickly, for illustration for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, some contractors may possibly come across by themselves unable to fulfil their contracts.

“In just about every scenario, the issue is no matter whether there was fraudulent intent. Some other instances may include fraudulent intent, but it might be pretty challenging to prove that in court docket.”

He has questioned MHA to analyze if there is scope to amend the legislation to make it simpler to create fraud in this kind of cases, said Mr Shanmugam.

The minister included that it can be difficult to recuperate the money misplaced in this sort of cons, even if the perpetrator goes to jail, as they may possibly no for a longer period have the income.

He advised home owners to interact contractors with a good keep track of file, these types of as all those accredited underneath the joint accreditation involving the Customer Affiliation of Singapore (Circumstance) and Singapore Renovation Contractors.