Most residents of Geylang Lor 3 terrace units have found new homes ahead of Dec 31 lease expiry deadline
Most of the landed property owners sitting on 60-year leasehold land located in Geylang Lorong 3 have found new homes, with the remaining few still considering their options. The land will be returned to the State when their leases expire on Dec 31 this year for redevelopment. There are a total of 191 terrace units located there, of which 149 are either vacant, or used as foreign workers' accommodations or for religious activities. Five were returned to the State earlier. Of the 37 owner-occupied units,32 have finalised their next home, with some moving in with family members or purchasing new flats, said the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on Thursday (Dec 3). Among them are six who have purchased new flats and as their flats will not be ready by the Dec 31 deadline, the Housing Board has offered them units under the Interim Rental Housing Scheme. The SLA said that help is being offered to the remaining five units still considering their next permanent housing options. Four are already in the process of moving out to interim rental flats, while another has made alternative arrangements. The SLA announced in 2017 that the terrace units in Geylang Lorong 3 will be returned to the State when their 60-year leases expire. The site is slated for a new public housing development as part of a larger plan to rejuvenate Kallang, said the SLA. "After all the properties have been returned to the State upon lease expiry, SLA will hoard up and clear the site to prepare it for redevelopment, " the agency said. The SLA had facilitated the early return of properties from owners who wish to do so, by waiving the processing fees and facilitating the refund of balance property tax. For the units used as foreign workers' accommodation, SLA and the Manpower Ministry (MOM) have contacted the employers of the affected foreign workers to move them to other approved housing, like purpose-built dormitories. The site is slated for a new public housing development as part of a larger plan to rejuvenate Kallang. The MOM said about 700 foreign workers employed by nearly 200 employers reside in Geylang Lorong 3. About one-third of the employers have found alternative accommodation for 221 workers while the others are in the midst of getting them housed elsewhere, its spokesman added. "We have also assured employers that there are sufficient bed spaces in purpose-built dormitories to house their workers, " the spokesman said, adding that employers can also approach the Dormitory Association of Singapore for help. SLA had facilitated the early return of properties from owners who wish to do so. Those conducting religious activities on the premises have been advised to consider co-locating with religious groups operating elsewhere, or renting a space within commercial or industrial premises with a designated portion for religious purposes, said the SLA. Of the 16 units being used for religious purposes,13 have made relocation plans or decided to wind down, while the remaining three are still considering their options. The SLA said occupants who need assistance relocating altars and deities can contact the members of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony. "The Government takes into consideration various national, social and economic needs in making land planning decisions and redevelopment plans. The return of leasehold land to the State upon lease expiry enables the land to be rejuvenated to meet these various needs of Singaporeans, " said the SLA. This is the first time a residential plot of land in independent Singapore has reached the end of its lease. The 70-year leasehold private houses in Jalan Chempaka Kuning and Jalan Chempaka Puteh, near Tanah Merah MRT station, are the next in line to reach expiry, in 2034.