Partition or sale?

In Toh Tian Sze v Han Kim Wah ([2012] SGHC 111) the Singaporean High Court had to consider an application for an order for partition or sale. P and D were tenants in common in equal shares. The co-owned land was physically divided by a wall and there was a detached house on each side of the wall. P had bought his share as an investment and D had lived in one of the houses but had now moved out and it was occupied by a tenant. The houses were rather decrepit but planning consent could only be obtained for the construction of a pair of semi-detached houses as the sub-divided plots were too small to allow for permission to build two new detached houses to be obtained. The parties could not agree on a proposal to redevelop so P sought partition or sale. Since P clearly had a right to partition, the only question was whether the order should be for partition or sale. D’s interests would not be prejudiced by a sale. Redevelopment would unlock the economic value of the land but would require the parties to co-operate and this seemed unlikely to happen. An order for sale was made.

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