The Geylang Lease Expiration – a Sign of Things to Come?
Residents of 191 homes in Geylang are set to make history, but not in a way they would have liked, when they will be the first in Singapore to have their properties and land returned to the state when their lease expires. The row of private leasehold terrace houses situated in Geylang Lorong 3 were each sold on a 60 year lease in 1960 – the shortest issued by the SLA for residential properties on the island, with the land returning to state ownership on the 31st December 2020. Of the 191 properties, 33 are currently owner occupied, with the rest being rented out to foreign workers or temple operators. Those 33 will have to have completely vacated the premises by the end of the lease, including their furniture and belongings, as well having settled up all bills relating to the address.
In a statement, the SLA insisted that the home owners would not be left high and dry and that there were existing schemes already in place such as the short-lease 2-Room Flexi flats, to help the elderly in situations similar to this. Every householder will have a dedicated SLA officer to talk them through their options, and help them through the process, something that has started already.
Despite this, there has been mounting anxiety among the residents, with several claiming that they have nowhere to go, and that they only heard of the expiring lease through reports in the press. Options for the residents include moving in with relatives, buying a HDB flat or renting a private property. Whether they will be able to do so, close to their previous neighbourhood is uncertain, and is something else that is causing the residents’ distress.
The land in question – totalling 2 hectares and situated less than a kilometre from Kallang MRT, is part of the overall rejuvenation of the area. It has been set aside to be used for a new public housing project, though there has been no indication when work will begin on that.
This is the first time that a residential plot of land has neared the end of its lease without any chance of renewal, but is a clear warning for house hunters that they should always pay attention to the lease period and not assume that it will automatically be renewed or extended when it is coming to full term. In the last 9 years, 7 extensions have been granted by the SLA for private condominiums via en bloc sales, but there has yet to be one for landed property.
Due to the time period when these leases were first put into place, this will start to become a more common occurrence. The next properties that will face the expiry of their leases (if nothing happens in the meantime) will be in 2034, when the 70 year leases for the private homes along Jalan Chempaka Kuning and Jalan Chempaka Puteh will come to an end.
City Fringe Developments
Coming soon (Near Singapore Regional Centres)