Business

Geylang private homes to return to State in 2020

33 homeowners still living in Geylang Lorong 3 will have to vacate premises


In a first for residential properties in Singapore, 191 private terraced houses at Geylang Lorong 3 will be returned to the State when their leases run out at the end of 2020, with no extensions allowed.

For the 33 homeowners who are still living there, time is running out.

They will have to hand back vacant units to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) when their leases run out in 3½ years with no compensation.

Each of the 191 units will be assigned a dedicated SLA officer who will be the home owners' point of contact, the authority said in a statement yesterday.

Yesterday morning, 16 SLA officers went knocking on doors around the estate, which were sold to residents on a 60-year lease in 1960, to introduce themselves to the owners and guide them through the process.

The last transaction in December 2015 was $88,000 for a 854 sq ft unit. Only 33 units are owner-occupied.

The remaining units consist of temple operators or are rented out to foreign workers when the homes' original owners moved out over the years.

Owners will have to remove all their belongings and terminate all their utilities and services.

They will also have to pay all outstanding bills, said SLA.

This is the first time a residential plot of land has reached the end of its lease.

Unlike land acquisition by the Government, where compensation is given for the remaining lease, Geylang Lorong 3 residents will not get any since the lease will have run out in 2020, said the Law Ministry's deputy secretary Mr Han Kok Juan.

EARMARKED

The 2ha plot of land in Geylang Lorong 3 will be earmarked for future public housing, but SLA did not give a timeline for when the redevelopment process will be started or completed.

Said SLA chief executive Tan Boon Khai: "As a general policy, upon lease expiry... the property will revert to the Government.

"In this case, there are exciting plans to rejuvenate the Kallang area and this site will be slated for public housing."

SLA said owner-occupants will not be left without options for alternative housing.

Owners can buy a Housing Board flat or private property if they do not already have alternative housing.

They can also choose to rent a home.

The Straits Times reported about the impending lease expiry at Geylang Lorong 3 in April, with several residents expressing their concerns that they will have no place to relocate to.

One resident told reporters yesterday that she learnt about the lease expiry issue only from the ST report.

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