Dispute Resolution

Information

In the event of a dispute, we encourage consumers to approach the estate agent to resolve the dispute. Consumers can also contact CEA to help them approach the estate agent for a resolution.

For consumers who are unable to get a satisfactory resolution from the estate agent, as long as it is a relevant dispute* and they have signed the relevant estate agency agreement* from 1 January 2011, they can use CEA's Dispute Resolution Scheme to resolve their dispute.

The Dispute Resolution Scheme comprises two sub-schemes, one using mediation, and the other using arbitration to resolve the dispute.

In general, mediation is a process whereby a neutral party such as a mediator facilitates two disputing parties, i.e. an estate agent and his client in trying to resolve a dispute and come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The decision is left to the parties and is not dictated by the mediator.

As for arbitration, it is a process where the arbitrator will consider the issues of both parties and arrive at a decision that is binding on both parties.

CEA's Dispute Resolution Scheme are available for certain disputes

The Council for Estate Agencies Dispute Resolution Scheme will be available for the resolution of relevant disputes* that arise from relevant estate agency agreement* that is entered into between a client* and a licensed estate agent signed from 1 January 2011.

Prescribed Dispute Resolution Centres

The Council for Estate Agencies Mediation Sub-Scheme Approved Mediation Centres

(a) Consumers Association of Singapore
(b) Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers
(c) Singapore Mediation Centre
The Council for Estate Agencies Arbitration Sub-Scheme Approved Arbitration Centres

(a) Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
(b) Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers

 

Dispute Resolution Scheme Flow Charts

a) Estate Agents

 

b) Consumers

Estate agents and salespersons must participate in CEA's Dispute Resolution Scheme

It is compulsory for licensed estate agents and registered salespersons to participate in the dispute resolution process.

a) The CEA Mediation Sub-Scheme

Either the client or estate agent can initiate mediation. Whether the client or the estate agent initiates mediation, the choice of the mediation centre will follow the client's preference.

Client requests in writing to mediate

Once a client writes to an estate agent to request to mediate, the client must select a mediation centre within four (4) weeks from the date of the request.

Estate agent writes to the client to enquire about mediation

When an estate agent writes to a client to enquire about mediation, if the client is agreeable, he would have to reply to the estate agent within three (3) weeks of receiving the estate agent’s enquiry. After agreeing to refer the dispute to mediation, the client should select a mediation centre within four (4) weeks from the date he replied to the estate agent.

No resolution

The parties would have to resolve the dispute through arbitration if the dispute remains outstanding, including situations where:

  • The client chooses not to mediate
  • The client fails to select a mediation centre
  • The client fails to inform the estate agent that he is agreeable to mediation
  • The dispute is not resolved within six (6) weeks from the date that the client is notified of the first mediation session

Only the client can choose to opt out of arbitration at this stage.

Refer to the Estate Agents (Dispute Resolution Schemes) Regulations 2011 for more information.

b) The CEA Arbitration Sub-Scheme

If the client and estate agent fail to reach a settlement through mediation, either party can initiate arbitration. The parties can proceed to arbitration at the approved arbitration centre that the client has selected for a resolution of the dispute.

Client refers the dispute to arbitration

The client may refer the dispute to arbitration at a selected approved arbitration centre.

Estate agent writes to the client to enquire about arbitration

When an estate agent writes to a client to enquire about arbitration, if the client is agreeable, he would have to reply to the estate agent within three (3) weeks from the receipt of the estate agent’s enquiry.

The parties can then proceed to arbitration at the approved arbitration centre that the client has selected for a resolution of the dispute.

The client should commence arbitration proceedings at the selected arbitration centre within three (3) weeks from his reply to the estate agent.

No resolution

If the client does not reply or choose to arbitrate within three (3) weeks of the estate agent’s enquiry, or if the client does not commence arbitration proceedings at the selected arbitration centre within three (3) weeks after he has replied to the estate agent, both parties will not be bound to proceed to arbitration.

Refer to the Estate Agents (Dispute Resolution Schemes) Regulations 2011 for more information.

It is the client's choice whether to proceed with mediation or arbitration

If the estate agent is the one who has initiated the mediation or arbitration, the client can opt not to proceed. The client may also choose to opt directly for arbitration without having to go through mediation first.

*Notes:

  • Client is a person who has signed a relevant estate agency agreement with a licensed estate agent;
  • Relevant dispute is a dispute which arises from a relevant estate agency agreement between a client and a licensed estate agent;
  • Relevant estate agency agreement is an estate agency agreement signed on or after 1 January 2011 in the form prescribed under the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010 for following property transactions:
    (a) the sale, purchase or lease of residential property in Singapore on a non-exclusive basis; or
    (b) the sale, purchase or lease of residential property in Singapore on an exclusive basis;

Fees for CEA Approved Mediation Centres

a. Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) Mediation Fees

Claim Range Member (CASE) Non-Member Business
Below $5,000 $37.45 $85.60 $85.60
$5,000 - $10,000 $37.45 $85.60 $85.60
$10,001 - $20,000 $53.50 $128.40 $128.40
$20,001 - $30,000 $133.75 $214.00 $214.00
$30,001 - $40,000 $240.75 $321.00 $321.00
Above $40,000 $347.75 $428.00 $428.00

 

b. Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers (SISV) Mediation Fees

Quantum of Claim Mediation Fees
Below $15,000 $200 plus GST per party per 2 hour session
$15,000 up to $30,000 $250 plus GST per party per 2 hour session
Above $30,000 up to $60,000 $350 plus GST per party per 2 hour session
Above $60,000 up to $100,000 $500 plus GST per party per day
Above $100,000 up to $250,000 $800 plus GST per party per day
Above $250,000 up to $500,000 $1,500 plus GST per party per day
Above $500,000 up to $1mil $2,000 plus GST per party per day
Above $1mil up to $2.5mil $2,500 plus GST per party per day
Above $2.5mil up to $5mil $3,000 plus GST per party per day
Above $5mil $3,500 plus GST per party per day

  • The mediation fee payable per party includes complimentary use of the SISV Dispute Resolution Centre's facilities for up to 2 hours
  • Cost for additional mediation sessions required as decided by the parties shall be payable as follows:
    1. Mediator's fees: As indicated above
    2. Room Charges: $50 per hour plus GST
  • All other costs incurred for the conduct of the mediation shall be reimbursed by the parties on 50:50 basis

c. Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) Mediation Fees

Quantum of Claim Mediation Fees
Below $30,000 $600
$30,001 to $100,000 $2,300
Above $100k up to $250k $1,200 per party per day
Above $250k up to $500k $1,800 per party per day
Above $500k up to $1mil $2,200 per party per day
Above $1mil up to $2.5mil $2,600 per party per day
Above $2.5mil up to $5mil $2,800 per party per day
Above $5mil $2,900 per party per day plus pro-rated portion of 0.05% of the quantum above $5mil

 

Fees for CEA Approved Arbitration Centres

a. Singapore Institute of Arbitrators Arbitration Fees

Disputed Sum** Arbitration Fees
Up to $60k
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $750 + arbitrator's fees of 20% of the sum in dispute, subject to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,500
Above $60k
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $2,000 + arbitrator's fees of 10% of the sum in dispute, subject to maximum of $25,000
Above $1,000,000
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $3,000 + arbitrator's fees of $25,000 plus 0.5% of the sum in dispute above $1,000,000, subject to a fee cap of $50,000
Up to $60k
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $750 + arbitrator's fees of 40% of the sum in dispute, subject to a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $5,000
Above $60k
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $2,000 + arbitrator's fees of 20% of the sum in dispute, subject to maximum of $50,000
Above $1,000,000
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $3,000 + arbitrator's fees of $50,000 plus 0.5% of the sum in dispute above $1,000,000 , subject to a fee cap of $100,000.

General Note to SIArb's Scheduled Fees

  • Note that there would be an increase of 20% where a full reasoned award is required. The above proceeds on the basis of awards with summary reasons only.
  • There would only be summary reasons for a claim up to $60,000.
  • Disputed sum** shall be the aggregate of the maximum amounts of both the Claim and the Counterclaim, if any. Where the amount of the sum in dispute is not quantifiable, the minimum amount of fees shall be paid as an initial deposit. The Arbitrator shall from time to time be entitled to estimate or attribute a value to the matters in dispute and where this is done, the amounts of deposits and fees payable shall be adjusted accordingly.

b. Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers (SISV) Arbitration Fees

Disputed Amount*** Arbitration Fees
Up to $60k
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $1,000
$60,001 to $80,000
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $3,000
$80,001 to $150,000
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $5,000
$150,001 to $200,000
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $6,500
Above $200k
(Documents-only)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $6,500 plus [5%] of the amount above $200,000, subject to cap of $23,000
Up to $60k
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $3,500
$60,001 to $80,000
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $5,000
$80,001 to $150,000
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $7,500
$150,001 to $200,000
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $8,500
Above $200,000
(where hearing is conducted)
Admin fee of $500 + arbitrator's fees of $8,500 plus [5%] of the amount above $200,000, subject to cap of $25,000

Other charges being the support services for and in connection with the hearing
(i) Hearing room (SISV Dispute Resolution Centre) at $50 per hour
(ii) Transcription services 
(iii) Translation and interpretation services 
(iv) Out-of-pocket expenses

General Note to SISV's Scheduled Fees

  • Admin fee includes the services provided in respect of the appointment of a sole arbitrator, decisions on challenge of an arbitrator and general administration of the arbitration file.
  • ***Disputed Amount for this purpose shall be the sum claimed in the Request or any Counterclaim, whichever is higher or, where no specified sum is claimed, the maximum value of the disputed amount of the subject matter shall be $60,000.

Prescribed Dispute Resolution Centres Rules and Annexes/Forms 

Approved Mediation Centres Rules & Annexes/Forms available for downloading
(a) Consumers Association of Singapore Download Here (PDFs,329KB)
(b) Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers Download Here (PDFs,315KB)
(c) Singapore Mediation Centre Download Here (PDFs,674KB)

 

Approved Arbitration Centres Rules & Annexes/Forms available for downloading
(a) Singapore Institute of Arbitrators Download Here (PDF,264KB)
 
(b) Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers Download Here (PDFs,551KB)