Tag Archives: Urban Redevelopment Authority

URA, CEA look into possible rental violations

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) are currently investigating possible violations of the minimum rental period for private residential properties, reported The Business Times (BT).

“CEA and URA have been investigating the cases cited by The Business Times,” Chua Geck Siang, CEA’s Acting Deputy Director (Licensing), told the newspaper.

Under the URA’s guidelines, the leasing of an entire flat or rooms to residential tenants is only permitted for six months and above. Anything below that is only allowed for hotels and serviced apartments.

However, a BT report earlier this month revealed that some accommodation service providers have been offering short-term stays in private residential properties. They were able to skirt the agency’s rules due to the clever wording of the tenancy agreements.

For example, tenancy agreements issued by Uncharted Homes, on behalf of BS Shenton Pte Ltd, stipulate a tenancy period of at least six months, but come with a diplomatic clause permitting the tenant to rescind the contract without penalty.

Another accommodation service provider, LMB Housing Services, uses an open-ended agreement that lays down a minimum lease of six months without specifying the last date of stay. It also gives tenants the right to end the lease without incurring a penalty if they submit a termination letter 30 days before departing.

Despite these legal machinations, the URA pointed out that the rules were still broken if the units were rented out for less than six months.

Among the many service providers that offer short-term stays, the only other ones named in the BT report were International Service Apartments and Atas Residence, previously known as Overseas Students Placement Centre (OSPC).

Moreover, as the function of these accommodation service providers overlaps with the line of work of property agents, the operations of these firms raises the question of why they are not under the purview of the CEA.

Under the Estate Agents Act, entities and individuals doing estate agency work in Singapore must be licensed and registered with the CEA.

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URA launches sale of River Valley site

Martin Place residential site resize

Location of the land parcel at Martin Place.

A prime residential site at Martin Place in River Valley has been launched for sale by public tender, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Released under the confirmed list of the first half 2016 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, the approximately 171,535 sq ft site has a maximum gross floor area of 480,307 sq ft. It could potentially yield about 450 condo units.

The 99-year leasehold site is located close to the future Great World MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. Nearby condominiums include Martin Place Residences, Rivergate and Martin 38.

Desmond Sim, Head of CBRE Research in SEA, said: “This is a site that is expected to draw much interest due to its prime location. The last time a site was made available in the vicinity was back in March 2011 at Robertson Quay ($938 psf ppr). In addition, the last site awarded in District 9 was the Mount Sophia site back in September 2013 ($1,157 psf ppr).

“This shows that sites in the prime area from the GLS Programme are far and few between. As such, CBRE Research will not be surprised if the site garners eight to 12 bids, which will come from established property developers as well as a handful of joint ventures. CBRE Research expects the top bid to be in the region of $1,000 psf ppr.”

The tender for the land parcel will close on 28 June 2016, said the URA.

Martin Place sale site

Aerial view of the sale site. (Photo: URA)