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Foreigners/PR Seekers

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To foreigners who want to buy "landed" property using the names of Singaporean, you are commiting an offence under RPA and will not only loss everything but could also be charged! 

Read Court Judgment April 2009

Foreigner/PR Investors

Indonesian businessman jailed for buying landed property in Singapore. (ST.16 July 1996)
Lim Bin Hiong alias Abun Sunarjo, 64, was arrested, charged in court and fined $1,000 for buying aa semi-detached house in Dedap Gardens in Singapore illegally.
 
He had appointed Singaporean Steven Ang Ah Hoe, 51, as his nominee to buy residential property on his behalf.
 
This is illegal under the Residential Property Act . The penalty for doing so is a jail term of up to 3 years or a jail term of up to $5,000 or both.
 
Under the law, a foreigner can buy residential property only in buildings of six levels or more or unless the building is designated a condominium. To buy landed property, the approval of the Minister for Law is needed.
 
Lim had trusted his then lawyer, Rick Tham, to advise him on the laws. He had wanted to buy a house in 1991 so that his then seven-year-old son could study in Singapore.
 
Steven Ang was temporarily appointed as Lim's nominee pending approval from the Land Dealings Unit.
 
But in July 1992,  his application had been rejected. Lim decided to sell the property, which was registered in Ang's name. But Steven Ang refused to give his consent to the sale unless he was paid $600,000.
 
Lim made a police report but withdrew it as one of Ang's conditions for giving his approval to the sale. Ang also accepted $300,000 and the house was sold at $1.45 million.
 
Eventually, lawyer Rick Tham, Steven Ang and Lim were all charged for their role in the purchase of the semi-detached house on Lim's behalf.

See Residential Property Act

PR SEEKERS CANNOT USE DEPOSIT TO BUY PROPETY. (ST 1/6/1996)
 
Foreign investor seeking permanet residence (PR) in Singapore can no longer use the deposit to invest in residential property.
 
This is one of the changes that has been made to the PR deposit scheme, aimed at attracting potential foreign investors to Singapore, with effect from today.
 
Under the old guidelines, up to 50 per cent of the deposit could be used for investing in residential property.
 
A statement yesterday from the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Immigration, which administer the scheme jointly, said of the change; "This will enable the full amount deposited to be directed towards productive economic activities."
 
Investors with a proven track record and who want to obtain PR here must now also invest at least $1.5 million, instead of $1 million.
 
THe statement said the entire $1.5 million may be invested in a project in Singapore, approved by the EDB.
 
It also announced some relaxations to a previous ruling that required the full deposit to be invested in projects in Singapore.
 
From today, up to 30 per cent of the amount may be invested in an EDB-approved regional project through a Singapore-registered company owned by the permanent resident. This figure can rise to 50 per cent if the company has at least 20 per cent singaprean ownership.
 
The overseas project must have the prior acceptance of the EDB as an approved investment under the scheme.
 
The remaining amount of the funds may be invested in a project in Singapore approved by the EDB.
 
The statement expalined that the previous minimum deposit of $1 million was set in 1981.
 
Taking inflation into account since then, the equivalent value of that amount today would be about $1.5 million, and so an adjustment was needed.
 
It added that allowing part of the deposit to be used for approved regional projects would maximise the use of funds for the development of Singapore's domestic economy as well as its external economy.
 
"foreign entrepreneurs who have regional businesss experiece and interests will not only be encouraged to set up operations in Singapore but also tie up with local partners for a business venture in the region."
 
Applications that wer received before today will be processed under the old guidelines.

Criteria for Foreigner/PR applying to purchase Residential Property.[Read changes in "New Rules"]

The Residential Property Act
The Act specifies that a foreigner (including PR) can only by residential property with the approval of the Minister for Law. The Act aslo states that a foregner cannot authorise a Singapore citizen to buy property on his behalf by holding it in trust for him. Offenders can be jailed up to three years or fined up to $5,000 or both.
 
Under the law, a foreigner can buy residential property only in buildings of six levels or more or unless the building is designated a "condominium" and not all apartment buildings with facilities are authomatically classified as "condominium". It is therefore important to check the Certificate of Tittle of the property to actually verify if the said property is disgnated as "condominium"
 

REVISED GUIDELINES FOR STRATA LANDED HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS

Definition

A strata landed housing development with communal facilities can comprise one of the three basic types:

i Strata detached houses (bungalows)

ii Strata semi-detached houses

iii Strata terrace houses (to comprise at least three strata terrace units)

Mixed strata landed developments comprising any combination of the three basic types can be allowed, subject to compliance with the location criteria (see below).

Each strata unit within the development is to have a minimum building footprint with ground contact of 50 m2. The upper storeys and basement of each strata unit are not to be subdivided into separate strata units.

The strata title arrangement is used to define the extent of private and communal areas within the strata landed housing development. Areas classified as communal open space are not to be included in the boundary of the individual strata units.

Strata landed housing developments shall not be accorded condominium status, i.e. foreigners are not allowed to purchase units from these developments.

Location criteria

Strata detached (bungalow)

Strata semi-detached

Strata terrace

Bungalow areas,

including Good Class Bungalow Areas (GCBAs)

Semi-detached areas

Mixed landed areas

Semi-detached areas

Mixed landed areas

Mixed landed areas

CIRCULARS TO PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTES


CLUSTER HOUSING & TOWNHOUSE DEVELOPMENT

  1. Please refer to our earlier circulars ref: URA/PB/93/05-DCD & URA/PB/93/06-DCD of 6 Mar 1993 on the guidelines for cluster housing and townhouses respectively. Following these releases, DCD has received enquiries on whether condominium status could be accorded to cluster housing and townhouses.
  2. Cluster housing is a new housing form. The housing units, linked in clusters, could be arranged in different ways with different layouts. Such housing development, with its own planning control guidelines, uses the strata title arrangement to define the extent of private areas, communal facilities and common areas. Other possible strata title types of landed housing are strata bungalows, strata semi-detached houses and townhouses. In terms of building form, they are similar to the respective land subdivision type of bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses. Being of the same landed building form, cluster housing and townhouses are allowed in areas designated for mixed landed housing areas where otherwise only the subdivision types of landed houses are allowed.
  3. Since cluster housing, townhouses, strata semi-detached and strata bungalows are essentially landed housing except for their strata title arrangement, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, housing development comprising wholly townhouses, cluster housing, strata semi-detached and/or strata bungalows will not be accorded condominium status. This applies to all cluster housing and townhouse development for which no written permission has been granted yet.
  4. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to relevant members of your organisation.
  5. If you or your members have any queries about this circular, please do not hesitate to call our DCD Customer Service Hotline (toll-free) at Tel: 1800-223 4811. We would be pleased to answer queries on this, or any other development control matter.
  6. Thank you.





LAM KWOK WENG
DIRECTOR (DEVELOPMENT CONTROL)
for CHIEF PLANNER
URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Check with SLA (go to "what we do" , to Land Registry then to Restriction on Foreign Ownership of Land) here

Some information is reproduced here as a quide. Please visit SLA site for update and verification.

FAQ on Restrictions on Foreign Ownership of Land under the Residential Property Act (The Act)

1 Q What is a restricted residential property as defined under the Act?

A It includes vacant land, landed properties such as bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses and apartments/flats in buildings of less than 6 levels.

2 Q What are the properties a foreign person can acquire without having to apply for approval under the Act?

A a flat in a building of 6 or more levels (including the ground level or any level below the ground) (including an HUDC Phase I or Phase II flat and a privatised Phase III or IV flat);

an unit in an approved condominium development;

a leasehold estate in a property specified in the above item 1 for a term not exceeding 7 years at any one time, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal;

a HDB flat purchased directly from HDB;

a resale HDB flat where HDB has consented to the sale;

HDB shophouse; and

an Executive Condominium purchased under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996.

Note:

Intended purchasers of properties d to g are required to enquire directly with the Housing And Development Board with regards to their eligibility to purchase the properties under the HDB's rulings.

3 Q Are shophouses considered as restricted residential properties?

A

If the shophouse (mixed commercial and residential use) is not strata subdivided and is comprised in an area zoned "commercial" or "commercial and residential", it is not considered a restricted residential property within the meaning of the Residential Property Act.

If the shophouse (mixed commercial and residential use) is not strata subdivided and is comprised in an area zoned residential within the meaning of the Residential Property Act, it is considered a restricted residential property.

Your lawyers will be able to advise you based on the Chief Executive Officer, URA's reply on the zoning and approved use of the property. If in doubt, you may wish to write to us and enclose a copy of the Chief Executive Officer, URA's reply.

4 Q Can I buy residential vacant land to build a dwelling house?

A Yes, if you are an individual buying the vacant land to build your own dwelling house. If approval is granted, it will be subject to the following conditions:

that you shall obtain the Notice of Grant of Written Permission for the construction of the dwelling house within a stipulated time period;

that you shall complete the construction of the dwelling house and obtain the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion, whichever is issued earlier, within a stipulated time period;

that you cannot at any time prior to the date falling 3 years after the date of issue of the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion, whichever is issued earlier, sell your estate and interest in the property;

that the property shall be used for your own occupation and that of your own family members as a dwelling house and not for rental or any other purpose; and

that you shall furnish a Banker's Guarantee for compliance of the foregoing conditions imposed.

5 Q Can I tear down the existing dwelling house on my property to re-build a new dwelling house thereon?

A You need to obtain approval first. You make your application by submitting the application form (Form VC). If approval is granted, it will be subject to the conditions as stated in paragraph 4 above.

6 Q Is there a time limit for me to own the property?

A You cannot sell your estate or interest in the property at any time prior to the date falling 3 years after the date of purchase of the property or 3 years after the date of issue of the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion (whichever is issued earlier) (if the property purchased is a plot of vacant land for your construction of a dwelling house or a built-up property which you intend to tear down to re-build a new dwelling house thereon).

7 Q Is there a limit on the land area of the property?

A Yes. The land area of the property should not exceed 1393.5 sq metres (15,000 sq ft).

8 Q Does it matter if the property is freehold or leasehold?

A No.

9 Q Must I dispose of my current residential property if I am given approval to buy a residential property?

A If you are granted an approval to acquire a restricted residential property, you are required to dispose of your estate and interest in your current property specified below :

a restricted residential property purchased/acquired before, on or after 11 September 1973;

an HDB flat (including a HUDC Phase III or IV flat which has not been privatised);

an Executive Condominium purchased under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996 [Please see Note b below]

10 Q What is the time-frame allowed for me to dispose of my current residential property (as pecified in 9 ) if I am granted an approval to purchase/acquire a restricted residential property?

A Restricted residential property purchased /acquired before, on or after 11 September 1973

on or before the legal completion of the purchase of a specific property for which separate legal title has been issued; or

within 3 months from the issue of the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion (whichever is the earlier) for the property to be purchased which is under construction; or

within 3 months from the date when the seller delivers vacant possession of the property to be purchased, where separate legal title has not been issued.

HDB flat or HUDC (Phase III or IV) flats which have not been privatised or Executive Condominium (under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996) {For Executive condiminium, please see Note b below}

within 6 months of the legal completion of the purchase of the property to be purchased for which separate legal title has been issued; or

within 6 months from the issue of the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion (whichever is earlier) for the property to be purchased which is under construction; or

within 6 months from the date when the seller delivers vacant possession of the property to be purchased, where the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion has been issued for the property but separate legal title has not been issued.

Note:

If you own a HDB flat purchased directly from HDB or a resale flat and the minimum occupation period of 5 years or 2 1/2 years respectively has not expired, you will in accordance with HDB guidelines, have to sell the flat to HDB at a price posted by HDB. You should therefore consult HDB to find out more details on the sale of such HDB flat.

If you own an Executive Condominium (EC) (purchased under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996), you are not allowed to dispose of your EC within the Minimum Occupation Period of 5 years, starting from the date of issue of it's Temporary Occupation Permit. You are also not allowed to acquire an interest in another residential property or HDB flat within this period. If you do so, you will be infringing the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996 and HDB can compulsorily acquire your EC.

11 Q I am now looking into buying an apartment. How do I ascertain how many levels the building has: Part of it is low-rise of less than 6 levels while the other part is high-rise of more than 6 levels.

A Generally, if the low-rise block forms one building together with the high-rise block and shares a common access or other facilities, the two buildings may be considered as one building of more than 6 levels. If a low rise building is connected to a high-rise building by a bridge, they are considered as 2 separate buildings. Each case is assessed individually. You may wish to write in to us and forward a copy each of the building and elevation plans for clarification.

12 Q Can I apply if I do not have a specific property in mind?

A Yes, you can state in the application form that you are applying for an Approval In-Principle (AIP). The AIP, if granted, is valid for 6 months. If you do not exercise it within the validity period, the approval will lapse and a fresh application is required.

13 Q Can I apply if I already own a property?

A Yes. However, if the existing property owned by you is a restricted residential property or a HDB flat (including an HUDC Phase III or IV flat which has not been privatised) or an Executive Condominium (purchased under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996), you will be required to dispose of it should approval be granted to you to buy a new restricted residential property. Please see items 9 and 10, above.

14 Q What are the criteria for approval?

A Every application is considered on its individual merits. The main criteria are whether you are a permanent resident of Singapore and your economic contribution to Singapore. The following factors are taken into consideration when assessing your economic contribution :

(a) your professional/technical/academic qualifications;

(b) your expertise combined with working experience needed by Singapore; and

(c) your investments in the type of industry or service sector needed in Singapore.

15 Q Can I enter into an agreement before approval is granted?

A Yes. However, before you exercise the Option to Purchase or sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement, you must ensure that a clause stating that the purchase is subject to your obtaining Government approval is incorporated. Otherwise, the Option to Purchase or Sale and Purchase Agreement is considered null and void.

16 Q Can I use the property for rental?

A No. When approval is granted for you to purchase a property, it is made subject to the condition that the property will be used solely for your own occupation and that of your family members as a dwelling house and not for rental or any other purpose. You are required to give an undertaking to this effect. Breach of this undertaking is an offence under Section 25(8) of the Residential Property Act and you shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.

17 Q How long do you take to process the application?

A Generally, the average processing time is within 6 weeks.

18 Q Can I appeal if my application is not approved?

A Yes, you may appeal against the Minister's decision within 3 months from the date of the letter informing you of the disapproval.

19 Q Can I acquire a restricted residential property which is bequeathed to me?

A Under the Residential Property Act, a foreign person cannot acquire/inherit a restricted residential property unless he obtains approval. If approval is not granted to him, the personal representatives of the estate of the deceased person must dispose of the foreign person's share in the restricted residential property within 10 years from the date of the death of the deceased person.

20 Q Can I bequeath a restricted residential property to a foreign person?

A Yes, you may will your property to a foreign person as beneficiary. However on your death, the foreign beneficiary will have to obtain Minister's approval to acquire the estate and interest in the property. If the foreign beneficiary is not granted approval to acquire the property, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person will have to sell the foreign beneficiary's share within 10 years of the date of death of the deceased person

21 Q What do I have to do if I have been appointed as an executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased where there are foreign beneficiaries and the property involved has not been disposed of after 10 years upon death of the deceased person?

A You have to apply to our Unit for an extension of time to dispose of the property.

FAQ on Fees and GIRO Account Application

22 Q What is the method of payment for (1) Registration fees; and (2) Search fees and fees for photocopies and microprints?

A Registration fees are paid through GIRO. Search fees and fees for microprints and photocopies are paid through the Auto-Cashiers at the Registry.

23 Q How do I apply for a GIRO account?

A Applicants for payment of registration fees by Interbank GIRO may submit the following forms either by post (address given in Annex A form below) or in person at the Singapore Land Authority counter at the 26th storey, Temasek Tower:

Application for Interbank GIRO form

Direct Credit Authorisation form

Annex A - Submisssion of DDA form for IBG

24 Q How long does it take to have a GIRO account approved?

A As we need to liaise with the banks, it usually takes about 2 weeks

25 Q What are the fees charged by the Registry?

A In general, there are 2 main types of fees :

- Registration fees for documents; and

- Search fees and fees for photocopies and microprints

FAQ on Changing Your Name on Your Land Title Document

26 Q How do I change my name on my land title document?

A In order to change your name on your land title document, you are required to lodge an Application to Note Change of Name. For a softcopy of the form please click here: Application To Note Change of Name. The Application is to be lodged together with a set of lodgment forms at the Singapore Land Authority, #26-01, Temasek Tower, No. 8 Shenton Way, Singapore 068811 within lodgment hours of 8.30am and 12noon, Mondays to Fridays. (Please note that the lodgment hours, by law, closes sharp at 12 noon. Our peak hour for lodgment is from 11am to 12noon. We would therefore advise you to lodge before 11am.) The lodgment form can be obtained from our enquiry officer at the counter. The registration fee is $42.30. The Application has to be lodged together with the following documents:

Duplicate Certificate of Title

If your property is mortgaged to a bank or if you are using funds from your CPF account, your duplicate Certificate of Title will be held by the bank or CPF Board. You will, therefore, need to arrange with the bank or the CPF Board for the release of the duplicate Certificate of Title to you for the lodgment of the Application.

 

Documentary Evidence

For Natural Person

You will need to attach the original Deed Poll or a copy certified true by a lawyer

For Companies

You will need to attach either the email notification of the notice of incorporation of company under a new name, certified true by a lawyer or the certificate of incorporation on change of name of company, certified true by a lawyer or the Registrar of Companies & Businesses

Note:-The Registry of Companies & Businesses is presently at 10, Anson Road #05-01/15, International Plaza, Singapore 079903.

 

Production Form in accordance with Part II Item 5 of Consolidated Practice Circulars 1995)

If your property is under mortgage or you have used or are using CPF funds towards the purchase of the property, the duplicate Certificate of Title will be held by the bank or CPF Board.

After you have arranged for the release of the duplicate Certificate of Title to you for the lodgment of the Application, you will need to forward a Production Form. This form is to be filled in by both the bank or CPF Board and yourself. This form is the bank or CPF Board permitting you to use the duplicate Certificate of Title for the Application and after the registration of the Application, authorising the return of the duplicate Certificate of Title to the bank or CPF Board. For a softcopy of the form, please click here:Production Form

FAQ on Changing Your Address for Service of Notice on Your Title Document

27 Q How do I notify the Registrar of Titles of my change of address for service of notices?

A To notify the Registrar of Titles of your change of address, please complete the Form For Change of Address. For a softcopy of the form, please click here: Form For Change of Address

It is not necessary to surrender your Title Document in order to update the change of address. However, if you have the Title Document in your possession and have indicated in the form that you would like a new Title Document with the updated address reflected, we would inform you as to when you may exchange your old Title Document with the new one.

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