Real estate regulations in Singapore

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Singapore:an  island city-state having a population of 57 lac attracts 17.4 million international tourists; more than three times of Singapore’s total population.

If you are planning to buy some properties in Singapore or planning to switch to a real estate business, it is important to consider the regulations . It becomes tiring and confusing when you do not have the professional knowledge, and chances of getting conned is possible .

Whether you need help in grasping  the landlord-tenant laws in your respective state or are just looking to rent an apartment or house, or you got involved in a landlord-tenant dispute – this section will help you to speed up the process .

It is essential to understand your rights as a tenant. The working of the lease and rental agreements, payment of rent and security deposits, tenant safety, landlord liability, the eviction process, and other factors before you sign a rental agreement are to be known.

Here are some FAQs which will come in handy while venturing into the field

Do I need to engage a property dealer in handling property transactions?

For any property transaction, consumers can choose to handle the transaction on their own or engage a property agent. If you decide to handle the transaction on their own, you should be conversant with the property transaction process.

It’s not mandatory to hire an agent, but it is preferable because you can get an agent with a small commission and that will speed up your property dealing.

Where do I check if the property agent is licensed or not?

A licensed property dealer will be registered in CEA’s public register. Or you can trace him/her via the CEA@SG mobile app. They provide you with records of all the property agents and agencies which are registered. Photographs of agents are displayed in the Public register, and hence it is easy to verify.

It is important to know the tenant’s rights and some critical issues regarding renting of property.

What are the rent laws? Can landlord and tenant freely agree on rents in Singapore?

The control of rent Abolition act was passed in 2001. This gives both the landlord and the tenant the right to negotiate the rent freely. Also, subsidized rents are provided too poor Singaporeans who cannot afford the market rent.

What laws are present related to eviction and duration of contract in Singapore?

The standard lease period across the country is for one year. You will find it difficult to get a lease for anything less than a year. There may or may not be an option to extend the contract. This one year lease comes with a one-month security deposit.

Everything is based on the contract signed between the landlord and the tenant. There is NO Singaporean law requiring notice before the end of the tenancy agreement. So, make sure you add a clause in the contract stating that your tenants must give two or three months notice before their intention of renewing the tenancy.

What rights do landlords and tenants have?

Either of the party can end the contract before the culmination of the lease period. The party which terminates the lease must pay an amount as compensation. This amount is predetermined in the contract and is typically a month’s rent.

How much money can the landlord ask for security deposits?

The security deposits vary from one to three months of rent. Usually, tenants pay one month of the security deposit for every year of the lease. However, some landlords demand up to three months for three to four years of lease. This security deposit is then returned without interest.

What should I do if the tenant refuses to pay the rent?

If the tenant fails or refuses to pay the rent, usually 14 days after its due ( as stated in the contract), the landlord has the right to obtain a writ of distress from the Court.

The writ given by the Court would then authorize the sheriff of your area to seize and sell goods inside the property, and you have the right to recover unpaid rent and legal costs from the tenant.

Landlords also get the right to repossess the property.

Your tenant cannot sublease without the consent of the landlord. It is prohibited and may lead to eviction, especially in HDB flats.

What are the laws in Legislation dealing with landlord-tenant issues?

No comprehensive law deals with landlord and tenant relation. The general associated with landlord and tenant relations are mentioned mainly in the Civil Law Act, Distress Act, Evidence Act, and several other laws.

Singapore follows the English common law system.

What is the Stamp duty on leases?

  • 6% of leases of over 3 years
  • 8% of leases 1-3 years
  • 4% of leases under one year