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Learn more about Leasehold in Singapore

Entering into a long-term lease agreement is not to be taken lightly. This agreement commits you to renting your property on a long-term basis. In fact, there are agreements in Singapore for 99 years. This means that with leasehold you can enjoy the rights attached to the property for a number of years. Themis Partner will assist you with real estate lawyers to draw up an agreement that is adapted to Singaporean law and register it at the land office. The long-term lease allows foreigners to own property in Singapore, whether it is land, house, villa, condominium or apartment. You can also download a sample rental agreement to save on your legal fees and ensure optimum protection. Make sure you get paid according to your payment terms, define the duration and conditions, and protect your property from any damage.

Table of contents

What is a leasehold?

It is essentially a long-term lease in which the lessor leases property to another for a long period of time. Indeed, a leasehold is often used to own a property for a long period of time. For this reason, a leasehold is advantageous for foreigners who wish to have a property for a long period of time. There are three types of long-term leases:

➤ The 99-year lease
➤ The 999-year lease
➤ Freehold

What are the applicable laws on leasehold?

Land law in Singapore is based on English land law. English land law applies along with other English laws and doctrines under the Second Justice Charter of 1826. This provided for the application in Singapore of English doctrines relating to real property. It was, however, applied subject to such modifications on a local scale as were deemed necessary to prevent injustice or oppression. In this way, the English common law rules were adapted to take account of local rules. A real estate lawyer from Themis Partner can provide you with the protections appropriate to the Singapore system.

What is the difference with the freehold?

Freehold: The recipient of a freehold owns the property and the land on which it sits, for an unlimited period of time.

Leasehold: Unlike a freehold as a tenant, you own the property BUT NOT the land on which it is built – which is owned by the “freeholder”, the original owner. You enjoy the rights to your property for a set period of time, which can be years, decades or centuries, depending on the length of your leasehold. If your leasehold expires, ownership of your property automatically passes to the original owner.

The legal protections offered by the Themis Partner leasehold

The contractual clauses of your agreement must protect you. That’s why our lease agreement offers you full legal protection in the event of default by the other party or an unforeseen event:

➤ You'll be assured of timely payment; the agreement specifies the payment schedule
➤ You are protected in case of non-payment of rent by the tenant with a penalty clause
➤ It is also about ensuring that the parties fulfill their obligation in good faith
➤ Make the agreement enforceable in court by registering the tenant with the land office
➤ Facilitate the renewal of the agreement at the end of the lease period
➤ To prevent damage or illegal construction without the prior consent of the party
➤ You can use our agreement for residential or commercial purposes

In conclusion, if you want to rent long term in Singapore, drawing up an agreement is essential and mandatory for legal protection in case of default of the parties.

What are the formal requirements of a leasehold?

The term of the leasehold must be certain. The agreement must clearly state the length of the lease term and the effective date.
Leases of more than 7 years (including any renewal options) must be in writing in the form of a deed and in English (as set out in the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act) and must also be registered with the Registry of Deeds.
Leases of 7 years or less (including any renewal options) may be written or oral. Such a leasehold should preferably be in writing, although an oral agreement for a lease coupled with partial performance by the tenant will also make the lease enforceable.
The landlord has a right of reversion. At the end of the lease, possession of the land reverts to the landlord.

What happens when the lease expires?

Simply defined, the house reverts back to the original owner once the lease expires, whether it is the HDB, SLA or other owners.

How to avoid non-payment of rent by the tenant?

Make sure you have a written lease agreement to address late rent payments. Our lease agreement includes a clear and consistent rent collection policy. Rent collection clauses should specify the amount of rent due when it is due, including late fees and other penalties. If you accept a late payment once without charging a late fee, your tenants will have no reason to pay on time. In the event of non-payment of rent, the landlord may terminate the agreement within a reasonable period of time after notice of default has been given.

If you need legal assistance, contact Themis Partner, and we will put you in touch with a competent lawyer who will answer your questions.

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