I refer to the article “35 of 191 households who must leave Geylang site by 2020 qualify for public housing: SLA” (Straits Times, Oct 3).

It states that “About one in five households living in private terrace houses at Geylang Lorong 3, who were asked to leave by the end of 2020 with no extensions allowed, have qualified for public housing, said the Singapore Land Authority in an update on Tuesday (Oct 3).

Of the 191 units, 35 have stepped forward to meet  Singapore Land Authority officers and qualified for public housing after having their circumstances assessed by SLA and the Housing Board (HDB).

Of the 35, one owner has successfully applied for a Build-To-Order (BTO) two-room flexi flat in a BTO exercise in August. Three other households have applied for flats in an August Re-offer of Balance Flats exercise, which are still being processed by HDB, added the authority in its statement.”

So, what are the other 82 per cent (156 divided by 191) going to do when their lease expires in 2020?

As to “The 60-year lease for these units cannot be renewed, and owners were told four months ago that they had to hand back the vacated units by Dec 31, 2020, with no compensation.

It was the first time that residential properties in Singapore had to be returned to the State when the lease ran out, with no extensions allowed.

While some owners have asked about the possibility of lease renewal during their engagement with SLA, the authority has explained that as a general policy, leasehold land will return to the State upon lease expiry” – this may be a precursor of what’s to come for HDB flats’ typical 99-year lease when they expire.

What percentage of those whose lease will expire, will also not be eligible for public housing, like these owners in Geylang now?

Are we arguably, sitting on a timebomb or what?

Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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