Of the 37 families living there, 30 have already found alternative housing, while the remaining seven are “considering renting another property in the interim”, noted the SLA. Image: Google Street View
The families living in the 191 two-storey terrace homes at Geylang Lorong 3 are set to be the first to hand back their houses to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) upon the expiry of the units’ 60-year lease on 31 December this year.
The Straits Times reported that the houses will be handed over to the authorities without compensation and will be demolished to make way for future public housing.
Demolition works for the houses, which were sold in 1960, are expected to start in Q3 2021, and will be completed by Q1 2023, said The Straits Times report citing tender documents.
“As a general policy, leasehold land will return to the State upon lease expiry to allow the land to be rejuvenated to meet the changing social and economic needs of Singaporeans,” said the SLA in response to queries from The Straits Times.
Of the 37 families living there, 30 have already found alternative housing, while the remaining seven are “considering renting another property in the interim”, noted the SLA.
“SLA will continue to provide assistance to the owner-occupants with their transition to their new homes,” it said.
The Straits Times reported that five units have been returned voluntarily to authorities by families who have already moved out. The other 149 units are primarily rented out to foreign workers as well as for religious activities.
SLA shared that it worked with the Ministry of Manpower to contact the employers of the foreign workers to make relocation arrangements for such workers.
Occupants conducting religious activities, on the other hand, have been advised to consider renting suitable spaces in industrial or commercial premises or co-locate with religious organisations in other areas.
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The SLA had announced in June 2017 that the two-hectare site would be returned to the government with no extension.
The government built the housing units to accommodate people displaced from attap homes within the nearby Kampung Kuchai that were destroyed in a fire in the 1950s.
While several long-time residents had expressed sadness, they said that they had expected this to come.
In fact, 76-year old Madam Koh Peck Choon said she is ready to move out since “the time is up”. She will be moving to a one-room rental flat in Whampoa in weeks.
“It’s a little sayang (pity) to leave because I won’t be able to grow flowers outside my house anymore but there’s no choice. The lease is up and I know we all have to move out eventually,” said the retired seamstress.