Amendments to Singapore Real Estate Law

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National University Of Singapore
School of Design and Environment

RE1802 REAL ESTATE LAW

Written Assignment

Chua Shu Mei Sheryldine U078113U
Chan Tze-Hui Christelle U077988N
Loo Li Wei Jennifer U077980X Tan Pei Shi U078048R
Wang Ting Val U078016E

Real Estate Defined
Real estate refers to real property, land and realty. In this assignment, the definition of real estate shall be referred to as the building developments on land, as well as residential units.[1]

Introduction
In the previous few years, there had been a number of amendments made to improve the legal system in the area of land and property in Singapore. Some of these legal amendments made concerning the ownership of real estate in Singapore are laws pertaining to 1. En-bloc sale

2. Land acquisition
3. Home loans
4. Foreign ownership
which will be discussed in this assignment.

1. En-bloc Sale
Recently, there had been a number of amendments made to the laws involving en-bloc sale, which includes the procedures involved as well as the provisions to the sale.

Prior to October 2007, application for an en bloc sale will be possible only when there is consent from the owners holding at least 80% of share value in developments that are more than 10 years old, and 90% in developments less than 10 years old. With effect from 4th Oct 2007, the new rule states that application will require approval from owners holding at least 80% of the building's gross floor area (GFA) if the development is more than 10 years old, or 90% if it is less than 10 years old. The cause for such changes is to ensure fairness to mixed developments where some owners may own a considerable floor area but a small share value. Together with the above amendment, owners are given a five-day “cooling off” period after signing the CSA for the first time, which previously, after having signed the CSA, owners would not be able to change their mind or it would be considered as a breach of contract. Also, an appointed en-bloc lawyer will now have to be present when the CSA is signed. With the addition of this new regulation, owners are given more time to think and may avoid a lawsuit in the event of him changing his mind about the sale, especially when he had signed the CSA under duress or pressure.[2] Furthermore, in the presence of a lawyer, legal terms may be explained clearly, and important documents may also be safe kept in the hands of the lawyer to prevent any disputes or errors which may arise in future like in the case of HPL v Horizon Towers, the missing pages in the CSA had very much resulted in the Strata Titles Board (STB) rejecting the en-bloc sale. Hence causing the over 100 owners of Horizon Towers to be in a lawsuit.[3]

Another recent change is that the STB will be granted greater power where they are able to help attain a greater share of sale proceeds for the minority owners who were against the sale. One condition that must be fulfilled is that these minority owners must have reasonable objections[4] to the en bloc sale. This would help ensure that everyone would get a reasonable share of the sale proceeds and that all parties involved would be treated fairly, thus acting as a safeguard. In the case of Waterfront View in April 2007, STB rejected a couple’s appeal for monetary loss although they did suffer a loss of approximately $90,000. This was due to the fact that the money lost had come from their CPF, which the Board did not require them to repay. .

2. Land Acquisition
Another legal development is the amendment in the Land Acquisition Act [5] which came into force on 7 May 2007.

Currently, compensation by the Government for private land acquired for future public projects will be based on a market value which a bona fide purchaser would reasonably be willing to pay. Previously, the statutory compensation was limited...
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