A leasehold estate is an ownership of a temporary right to hold land or property in which a lessee or a tenant holds rights of real property by some form of title from a lessor or landlord. Although a tenant does hold rights to real property, a Leasehold Estate Is Typically Considered Personal Property.
Leasehold is a form of land tenure or property tenure where one party buys the right to occupy land or a building for a given length of time. As lease is a legal estate, leasehold estate can be bought and sold on the open market. A leasehold thus differs from a freehold or fee simple where the ownership of a property is purchased outright and thereafter held for an indeterminate length of time, and also differs from a tenancy where a property is let (rented) on a periodic basis such as weekly or monthly.
You only own a leasehold property for a fixed period of time. You’ll have a legal agreement with the landlord (sometimes known as the ‘freeholder’) called a ‘lease’. This tells you how many years you’ll own the property. Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end. The end value of lease term is also fully depreciated
RENOWNED SG ARCHITECT TAY KHENG SOON CLARIFIES THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRIVATE CONDO AND HDB FLATS.
Since the issue of redevelopment is topical it is necessary to differentiate condos and hdb flats since both are on 99year leased land. In the case of private condos, many are on 99year leases but all the units have a strata title. A strata title defines the unit size and its undivided share of the land. For example, lets say there are 100 units in the condo, therefore each unit strata owner has a 1/100 share of the land should the condo be enblocked to a new developer. Say there are 50 years left of the lease. The new developer pays to SLA a top-up sum based on a formular to bring the lease back up to its original 99year tanure status. Usually developers do enblock purchases because URA has assigned increased plot ratio. This enhanced plot ratio is a previlege that has to be purchased. It is not an entitlement. In the case of HDB flats ‘owners’ have only purchased a 99year lease. They have no share of the land unlike private condos sold under strata title. The simple difference is one is a strata title and the other is only a lease even though both lands are 99year leases. It will be interesting how the compensation will be computed in VERS.
by Tay Kheng Soon
an architect & NUS lecturer