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My Digital Lock Charged Over S$500K For Breaching Property Rules In Yishun Showroom

My Digital Lock Breaches Property Rules Over Yishun Showroom, Charged Over S$500,000

On 30 Oct, the owner of the local company My Digital Lock, Mr Ronn Teo, shared that they recently ran afoul of the law regarding property rules over a showroom in Yishun.

Having breached the rules, the company has to pay over S$500,000 to several authorities including the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

They would also have to stop using the unit by 9 Nov. Otherwise, they could face a fine of up to S$200,000, a jail term of up to 12 months or both.

My Digital Lock charged over S$500,000 for property rule breaches

Mr Teo took to Facebook on 30 Oct to share more about the incident in a video which included a skit of his experience.

He called the incident the “most expensive lesson” of his life, which cost him over half a million dollars.

According to Mr Teo, the company had expanded its business over the past 11 years with 18 outlets across Singapore.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

As the number of employees began to increase, the firm needed a headquarter to unite their staff.

The space would also function as a showroom for customers, installers, salesmen and accountants.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

Unfortunately, things took a turn when a URA officer allegedly visited the unit at 1 Yishun Industrial Street 1.

In the skit, an actor reenacted how the officer took a look around the showroom, before telling Mr Teo that he would be sending a seemingly ominous “letter”.

URA charges company for property rule breaches

Mr Teo shared that the company had spent nearly S$700,000 on renovating and purchasing three units to build the showroom.

It was thus to his horror that he received a notice from URA stating that it was illegal to operate the headquarters.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

According to the notice, My Digital Lock should have applied to change the use of their property. If the application had gone through, they would also have to pay land betterment charges.

For their case, Mr Teo claimed that they would have to pay S$500,000 every three years to operate the showroom.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

“It’s not a one-time payment,” he pointed out. “Every three years you need to make the payment. I believe not every entrepreneur could afford this amount of land betterment charges.”

If they don’t comply by 9 Nov, they would face a fine of S$200,000 per unit, a jail term of up to one year or both.

“If you cannot afford the land betterment charges, maybe [abandoning] your business is the next best option,” he said.

Company posts proof of enforcement notice

Mr Teo ended the video by stating that he would not go down the route of closing down his company.

“We need to be accountable for all our customers,” he said. “Therefore, we will put in all resources to comply with the rules to continue this business.”

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

In a follow-up post, My Digital Lock said a lot of netizens had claimed that they had made up the incident for marketing reasons.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

As such, they have posted a picture of a notice as proof that URA had indeed charged them for breaching property rules.

The notice revealed that URA had investigated the showroom at 1 Yishun Industrial Street 1 from 29 July to 21 Sep.

Source: My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook

According to their investigation, they have determined that the use of unit #01-03 was changed from that of a factory to a showroom without the requisite planning permission.

My Digital Lock would thus have to stop using the unauthorised showroom and cease all browsing and viewing activities from the public on its premises.

In addition they would have to remove all online and offline advertisements or information promoting the showroom.

The notice took effect from 12 Oct, giving the company four weeks to comply with the requirements. If they did not do so by 9 Nov, they would face the penalties described by Mr Teo in the video.

URA also apparently warned that they would drop by for unauthorised inspections after 9 Nov to verify that the firm had complied.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps and My Digital Lock Pte Ltd on Facebook.

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