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State Lands Act
(CHAPTER 314)

(Original Enactment: Ordinance 2 of 1886)

REVISED EDITION 1996
(27th December 1996)
An Act to regulate the alienation and occupation of State lands.
[1st March 1886]
PART I
STATUTORY GRANTS AND LEASES
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the State Lands Act.
Interpretation
2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“Authority” means the Singapore Land Authority established under the Singapore Land Authority Act 2001;
“Collector” has the same meaning as in the Land Revenue Collection Act (Cap. 155);
“Commissioner of Lands” means such person as the Minister may appoint as the Commissioner of Lands under section 2D;
“grant” means a grant in perpetuity;
“grantee” means the owner of a grant;
[17/2001 wef 01/06/2001]
“Singapore Height Datum” has the same meaning as in the Boundaries and Survey Maps Act (Cap. 25);
“State title” means any grant, any grant in fee simple or estate in perpetuity, or any State lease (of whatever tenure) whenever issued or granted by or on behalf of the Crown, the State or the East India Company;
“subterranean space” means the subsoil below the surface of the earth.
Appointment of Chief Valuer
2A.
—(1)  The President may appoint a Chief Valuer in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission unless the President, acting in his discretion, does not concur with that advice.
(2)  The remuneration and other terms of service of the Chief Valuer shall not be altered to his disadvantage during his continuance in office.
[17/98 wef 05/06/1998]
Functions of Chief Valuer
2B.
—(1)  The functions of the Chief Valuer shall be —
(a)
to carry out the valuation of all State lands, lands managed for or on behalf of the Government or buildings on any such land for their disposal; and
(b)
to carry out valuation of any lands and buildings required for feasibility studies, court proceedings, arbitration or other purposes.
(2)  The Chief Valuer shall perform such other duties and exercise such other powers as may be prescribed by or under any written law.
[17/98 wef 05/06/1998]
Access to lands, buildings, etc.
2C.
—(1)  The Chief Valuer or any officer authorised by him may —
(a)
where reasonably necessary for the purposes of any work undertaken by the Chief Valuer in the performance of his functions, enter at all reasonable hours into and upon and inspect any land, building or premises without liability for trespass;
(b)
request in writing the owner or person in occupation of any land, building or premises to furnish information to enable the Chief Valuer to carry out that work; and
(c)
inspect any books, documents or papers in the charge of any public officer for the purposes of such work and take extracts from those books, documents or papers without any charge.
[17/98 wef 05/06/1998]
Commissioner of Lands
2D.
—(1)  There shall be a Commissioner of Lands who shall be appointed by the Minister for the general administration of this Act.
(2)  The Minister may also appoint from among officers of the Authority such number of Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Lands as may be necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act and any rules made thereunder.
(3)  A Deputy Commissioner and any Assistant Commissioner of Lands may, subject to any special or general directions of the Commissioner, exercise any of the powers conferred on the Commissioner by or under this Act or any other written law.
(4)  Any person who, immediately before the date of commencement of the Singapore Land Authority Act 2001, holds office as a Commissioner of Lands, Deputy Commissioner of Lands or Assistant Commissioner of Lands shall continue to hold such office as if he had been appointed under this Act until his appointment is revoked.
[17/2001 wef 01/06/2001]
Power to make rules for disposal of available lands
3.
—(1)  The President may make rules for the disposal or temporary occupation of State lands.
(2)  Rules made under subsection (1) may provide among other matters for the following:
(a)
the mode in which applications for land shall be made and the terms and conditions on which grants, leases or other dispositions shall be issued;
(b)
the total or partial exemption, either absolutely or subject to conditions, of land from rent for a term of years, or for any life or lives, or during the maintenance of any institution; and
(c)
the time and place at which, and person to whom, rent shall be paid.
Modes of alienation
3A.  State lands which are alienated or otherwise disposed of, or in respect of which a lease or licence to occupy is issued, under this Act may be alienated, leased or licensed —
(a)
as a parcel of the surface earth, so much of the subterranean space below and so much of the column of airspace above the surface as is reasonably necessary for the use and enjoyment thereof;
(b)
as a parcel of airspace or subterranean space, whether or not held apart from the surface of the earth; or
(c)
only down to such depth below the surface earth as the President may by order direct.
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
What is subterranean space reasonably necessary for use and enjoyment of surface earth
3B.
—(1)  To avoid doubt, it is declared that for all purposes, any land includes only so much of the subterranean space as is reasonably necessary for the use and enjoyment of the land, being —
(a)
such depth of subterranean space as is specified in the State title for that land; or
(b)
if no such depth is specified, subterranean space to ‑30.000 metres from the Singapore Height Datum.
(2)  To avoid doubt, nothing in this section derogates from —
(a)
any reservation, by or under this Act or other written law, in favour of the State —
(i)
to all mines and minerals, mineral oil, natural gas, stone, clay, sand, gravel, and other natural deposits; or
(ii)
to enter upon any land and to search for and take any minerals, mineral oil, natural gas, stone, clay, sand, gravel, and other natural deposits which may be found in or below the land;
(b)
any condition implied (by or under this Act or other written law) in any State title for any land with respect to opening of or working any mines or quarries, or digging for minerals, mineral oil, natural gas, stone, laterite, clay, sand, gravel, and other natural deposits; or
(c)
any rule of law or written law relating to ownership of any column of space above any defined parcel of the surface of the earth.
(3)  Any reference in any written law other than this Act to so much of the subterranean space below any land as is reasonably necessary for the use and enjoyment of the land is a reference to —
(a)
such depth of subterranean space as is specified in the State title for that land; or
(b)
if no such depth is specified, subterranean space to ‑30.000 metres from the Singapore Height Datum.
Easement of subjacent support
3C.
—(1)  To avoid doubt, it is further declared that for all purposes, there is implied —
(a)
as belonging to each parcel of land, an easement for the subjacent support by any other parcel of land capable of affording such subjacent support; and
(b)
as affecting each parcel of land, an easement for the subjacent support of any other parcel of land that is capable of being so supported.
(2)  Subject to subsections (3) and (7), the easement implied under subsection (1) also entitles the grantee or lessee of the parcel of land that is the dominant tenement —
(a)
to erect or install within subterranean space any structure necessary for the support of the parcel of land, including underpinning or strengthening any building on that parcel of land;
(b)
to maintain, replace, renew or restore any such structure erected or installed for the support of that parcel of land; and
(c)
to have, upon giving reasonable notice, such access to the servient tenement (through agents and employees) as is reasonably required for erecting or installing any structure referred to in paragraph (a), or for maintaining, replacing, renewing or restoring any such structure.
(3)  The person entitled to the benefit of the easement implied under subsection (1) —
(a)
cannot exercise any rights under the easement in a way that unreasonably prevents another person from enjoying the use and occupation of the other person’s land; and
(b)
must, when exercising any rights under the easement, take reasonable steps to minimise damage to land or other property from work or activities carried out in the exercise of those rights.
(4)  Without prejudice to subsection (2), the easement implied under subsection (1) confers and imposes all ancillary rights and obligations reasonably necessary to make it effective.
(5)  The easements implied under this section take effect and are enforceable without any registration or notification under the Land Titles Act (Cap. 157) on the folios relating to the parcel of land concerned.
(6)  In this section, any reference to a grantee or lessee of any parcel of land is a reference to the Government if the parcel of land is not the subject of any State title.
(7)  Nothing in this section —
(a)
derogates from the requirements or effect of any other written law for the time being in force relating to planning and use of land or to building and construction, or from any rule of law relating to lateral support for land; or
(b)
prevents the exercise by any public authority or any licensed provider of a utility service of any power under any other written law in good faith and with reasonable care.
Form of grant
4.
—(1)  Every grant or lease of State land issued under this Part shall be in the prescribed form and shall be signed by the Collector of Land Revenue.
[35/80]
Reservation in favour of State of rights in respect of mineral oil in grants and leases made by State
(2)  In every such grant and in every lease made by the Crown or the State after 3rd May 1907, there shall be implied, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, a condition with respect to the land comprised in the grant or lease to the effect that there is reserved to the State or its grantees the right to enter upon the land and to search for and take any mineral oil which may be found therein or thereon upon paying to the grantee or lessee of the land such compensation for any damage occasioned thereby as may be assessed by the Collector of Land Revenue.
Difference as to compensation to be settled by arbitration
(3)  If any person so entitled to compensation is dissatisfied with the compensation as assessed by the Collector of Land Revenue, the difference between them shall be referred to arbitration, and the sending in by that person of a claim to compensation after the Collector of Land Revenue has made an offer of compensation in writing shall be treated as a submission to arbitration under the Arbitration Act [Cap. 10].
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
Implied condition as to claims of right of way
(4)  In every grant or lease made by the Crown or the State after 1st December 1915, there shall be implied, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, by virtue of this Act in respect of the land comprised in the grant or lease the condition that where any claim is made to the Collector of Land Revenue by the owner or occupier of any land adjacent to the land comprised in the grant or lease for a right of way from his lands over the land comprised in the grant or lease to facilitate his access to the nearest public road —
(a)
the Collector of Land Revenue may mark out for the purpose a road or way over the land comprised in the grant or lease;
(b)
in that case the owner or occupier of those adjacent lands making the claim is entitled to pass and repass with or without animals or vehicles over the road or way so marked out, making full compensation for damage done to growing crops and permanent improvements; and
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(c)
the expense of making and maintaining any road or way used for the purpose shall be borne by the owner or occupier of the lands using it, and any dispute relating thereto shall be settled by the Collector of Land Revenue whose decision shall be final.
Presumption as to grant of estate in perpetuity
(5)  Every grant of land issued under subsection (1) before 1st March 1961 shall be deemed to confer an estate in perpetuity on the grantee.
[5/61]
Death of grantee or lessee
5.
—(1)  Where a grant or lease has been issued under this Act, or a certificate has been issued by the Collector of Land Revenue pursuant to Part III of the Land Titles Act [Cap. 157], to a person who, unknown to the Collector of Land Revenue, was not alive at the date of the issue of the grant or lease or Collector’s Certificate and pursuant to the issue of such grant, lease or certificate the Registrar of Titles has issued a certificate of title to the deceased person —
(a)
an application may be made by the personal representative of the deceased person to the Registrar of Titles to have the certificate of title duly amended and endorsed with the name of the personal representative as the registered proprietor of the land comprised therein in place of the deceased person; and
(b)
the Registrar of Titles, if he is satisfied that the personal representative has obtained a grant of probate of the will or letters of administration of the estate of the deceased person or has been vested with authority to act as such personal representative, as the case may be, shall make the appropriate amendment and endorsement on the certificate of title, and the State grant or lease affected, and thereupon section 109 of the Land Titles Act shall apply with the necessary modifications.
[35/80; 27/93]
(2)  For the purposes of this section, “personal representative” includes —
(a)
an executor, whether original or by representation;
(b)
an administrator; or
(c)
a trustee,
for the time being of the estate of a deceased person.
[35/80]
Implied covenants in statutory grant
6.
—(1)  In every grant issued under this Part, there shall be implied, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, the following covenants by the grantee with the Government:
(a)
that the grantee, his executors, administrators and assigns will pay at the time and place prescribed in relation to the land described in the grant, the rent, if any, mentioned therein payable in respect thereof by reason of the periodical revisions mentioned in section 9;
(b)
that the grantee, his executors, administrators and assigns will maintain in substantial repair all landmarks by which the boundaries of the land are defined;
(c)
that the grantee, his executors, administrators and assigns will not use any portion of the land for the burial of a human body without the written permission of the Minister; and
(d)
that the grantee, his executors, administrators and assigns will not assign or demise the land in parcels or otherwise than the entirety thereof except in the case of a lease for a term not exceeding 7 years.
(2)  The burden of the covenants mentioned in subsection (1) shall run with the land comprised in the grant.
(3)  If the grantee assigns the land comprised in a grant issued under this Part, and the assignment is duly registered in accordance with the law for the time being in force relating to registration, the personal liability of the grantee in respect of future rent which becomes due under the grant after the date of such registration shall cease as from that date.
Implied conditions in grants and leases
7.
—(1)  Every grant or lease under this Part is also subject, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, to the following agreements and conditions in respect of the land comprised therein:
(a)
that there is reserved to the State a royalty of 10% of the gross produce of all mines and minerals other than laterite found in or upon the land;
(b)
that earth, clay, gravel, sand and stone and other materials which may at any time be required for the roads, public buildings or other public purposes of Singapore may be taken and removed by or on behalf of the State from the land, not being the site of a messuage or dwelling-house, or of any building attached or adjoining thereto, and not being the curtilage, garden or orchard thereof or the close in which the same is built or pleasure grounds adjoining and belonging thereto, without compensation except for actual damage done to growing crops, roads, paths, fruit trees or buildings;
(c)
that the officers of the Government and their workmen shall at all times have free access to the land for the purpose of making drains and sewers, and laying down water-pipes, electric and telegraph wires, and other underground communications, and using, repairing and maintaining the same;
(d)
that the Collector of Land Revenue and any officer authorised by him in writing shall at all times have free access to the land; and
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(e)
that in case of breach of or default in observance of any of the covenants implied as mentioned in section 6 other than those for the payment of rent and the maintenance of landmarks, the Collector of Land Revenue or any officer authorised by him in writing, may, on behalf of the State, re-enter on the land, or on any portion thereof in the name of the whole, and thereupon the same shall be forfeited to and vest in the Government.
(2)  Every grant or lease under this Part issued after 1st January 1936 is also subject, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, to the following agreements and conditions in respect of the land comprised therein:
(a)
that the grantee or lessee, his executors, administrators and assigns, will not at any time, without the written consent of the President and subject to such conditions as to the President may seem fit, open, work or dig for any oil, mines, minerals, quarries, laterite, clay, gravel or sand (except materials for the making of or repairing new or existing roads on the land) but will to the utmost of his power keep the oil, mines, minerals, quarries, laterite, clay, gravel or sand pits or deposits unopened and unworked; and
(b)
that in case of breach of or default in observance of the agreement referred to in paragraph (a) or of any such conditions as are referred to therein the same powers of re-entry and forfeiture apply thereto as are by subsection (1)(e) applied to the breaches and defaults therein mentioned.
Assignee bound by covenants in State grants or leases, etc.
8.
—(1)  An assignee of, or any person who becomes a proprietor of, any land in Singapore shall be bound by such exceptions, reservations or covenants (restrictive or otherwise) contained in the Crown grant or lease, or State grant or lease irrespective of whether he has notice (actual or constructive) of such exceptions, reservations or covenants.
(2)  This section shall apply to all grants and leases issued before, on or after 15th January 1981.
[35/80]
Rent reserved and periodical revision of rate of rent
9.
—(1)  The sum, if any, reserved to the Crown or the State as rent in a grant issued under this Part shall be payable by the grantee, his executors, administrators or assigns annually from the date of the grant up to 31st December 1914, the rent for each year being payable on 1st January in that year, and thereafter until the revision mentioned in this section.
(2)  As soon as may be after 1st January 1915 and thereafter as soon as may be at the end of every 30 years, the Minister may revise the rent so reserved and fix the sum which shall be payable for the then current term of 30 years, or the remainder thereof, but so that the rent payable in any such term of 30 years shall not exceed by more than 50% the rent which was payable in the immediately preceding term.
(3)  In making such revision, no improvements made by the landholder or his predecessors in title shall be taken into account.
(4)  In making such revision, it shall not be necessary to consider each grant separately, but the Minister may fix certain areas, and make a general revision in respect of all lands situated within those areas respectively.
(5)  The Minister may make rules for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section.
(6)  All such rules shall be presented to Parliament as soon as possible after publication in the Gazette and if a resolution is passed pursuant to a motion notice whereof has been given for a sitting day not later than the first available sitting day of Parliament next after the expiry of one month from the date when the rules are so presented annulling the rules or any part thereof as from a specified date, the rules or such part thereof, as the case may be, shall thereupon become void as from that date but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or to the making of new rules.
[38/59]
Land granted for religious purposes, etc., when resumable
10.
—(1)  Any land granted or leased by or on behalf of the Crown or the State or the late East India Company free of rent, or at merely nominal rent, as a building site for a religious edifice, or otherwise for religious or charitable purposes, shall be forfeited to and vest in the Government if at any time the land or the building thereon is applied without the written consent of the President to other purposes than those, if any, specified in the grant or lease.
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(1A)  For the purpose of giving effect to any provision of any international convention, treaty or agreement to which Singapore is a party, the Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, vest in the Government such estate or interest in land pursuant to such provisions and specified in the order, and upon the coming into operation of any such order, the estate or interest to which the order relates shall, by virtue of that order and without any conveyance, assignment or further assurance, vest in the Government free from encumbrances.
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(2)  This section shall apply to all grants and leases whenever made.
Issue of State title Collector’s Certificate pending final survey of land area
11.
—(1)  Pending the issue of a grant or lease for any State land, the Collector of Land Revenue may, where the circumstances so require, issue a Collector’s Certificate in respect of any land which has not been surveyed and demarcated to the satisfaction of the Collector of Land Revenue and the survey has not yet been approved by the Chief Surveyor and include a caution as to the inconclusiveness of the boundaries and dimensions of the land.
(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Collector of Land Revenue may, where applicable, issue a grant or lease for any parcel of land notwithstanding that its land area is only an estimated area as shown in a plan filed with and approved by the Chief Surveyor and include a caution as to the inconclusiveness of the boundaries and dimensions of the land.
[27/93]
(3)  For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), the Collector of Land Revenue may require the intended grantee or lessee to engage a registered surveyor to carry out a survey in accordance with the provisions of the Land Surveyors Act [Cap. 156] and the Chief Surveyor shall forward the plan to the Collector of Land Revenue after it has been filed with and approved by the Chief Surveyor.
[27/93]
(4)  With regard to all land alienated under subsection (1) or (2) and which has been taken possession of with the agreement of the Collector of Land Revenue, payment of the rent reserved under an agreement for alienation may be demanded and enforced in like manner as if a grant or lease had been issued for a parcel of land with conclusive land area and boundaries.
[27/93]
Agreement to be called in where title issued after survey
12.
—(1)  At any time after the survey of any land occupied by virtue of an agreement entered into under section 11, the Collector of Land Revenue may, by a notice in writing duly served as prescribed, require the person in occupation of the land by virtue of the agreement to deliver up the agreement to him to be cancelled.
(2)  In exchange therefor when so delivered up, a grant or lease shall be issued in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
[35/80]
Surrender of title
13.
—(1)  If the owner of the land comprised in any Crown grant or lease, or State grant or lease, is desirous of surrendering his title to the land in exchange for one or more new titles for development, subdivision or other purposes, he may apply to the President to accept the surrender of his existing title to the land and, in lieu thereof, to regrant one or more titles for the whole of the land or in parcels, subject to such terms and conditions which may be imposed by the President for accepting the surrender.
[35/80]
(2)  When the President is satisfied with the title of the applicant and the applicant has agreed to accept all the terms and conditions imposed by the President under subsection (1), the President shall accept a surrender of the grant or lease and shall issue in lieu thereof to the applicant one or more new grants or leases for the land or in parcels.
[35/80]
(3)  The applicant shall pay all costs and expenses of, or consequent on, his application.
[35/80]
Surrender of State lease with a view to grant of new State lease
13A.
—(1)  A State lease may be surrendered, whether before or after 4th August 1995, with a view to the acceptance of a new State lease in place thereof, without a surrender of any sub-lease derived thereout.
[27/95]
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(2)  A new State lease may be granted and accepted, in place of any State lease so surrendered, without any such surrender of a sub-lease as aforesaid, and the new State lease operates as if all sub-leases derived out of the surrendered State lease had been surrendered before the surrender of that State lease was effected.
[27/95]
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(3)  The lessee under the new State lease and any person deriving title under him shall be entitled to the same rights and remedies in respect of the rent reserved by and the covenants, agreements and conditions contained in any sub-lease as if the original State lease had not been surrendered but was or remained vested in him.
[27/95]
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(4)  Each sub-lessee and any person deriving title under him shall be entitled to hold and enjoy the land comprised in his sub-lease (subject to the payment of any rent reserved by and to observance of the covenants and conditions contained in the sub-lease) as if the State lease out of which the sub-lease was derived had not been surrendered.
[27/95]
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(5)  The Government in granting the new State lease shall be entitled to the same remedies, by distress or entry in and upon the land comprised in any such sub-lease for rent reserved by or for breach of any covenant, agreement or condition contained in the new State lease (so far only as the rents reserved by or the covenants, agreements or conditions contained in the new State lease do not exceed or impose greater burdens than those reserved by or contained in the original State lease out of which the sub-lease is derived) as he would have had —
(a)
the original State lease had not been surrendered; or
(b)
a new sub-lease derived out of the new State lease had been granted to the sub-lessee or a person deriving title under him,
as the case may be.
[27/95]
[9/2009 wef 05/03/2009]
(6)  For the purposes of subsection (5), the imposition of any covenant restricting the use or development of land comprised in a new State lease shall not be regarded as imposing a greater burden than those covenants contained in the original State lease.
[27/95]
(7)  This section shall not affect the powers of the court to give relief against forfeiture.
[27/95]