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Competency Unit 1B - Land Law

What is land

  • surface of the earth plus building, subterranean (below) and airspace (above)
  • easements & covenants
  • reasonably necessary for use and enjoyment

Chattels & Fixtures

  • Fixture = chattel so affixed therefore become part of the land/buildings
    • Factors to consider:
      1. The Degree of Annexation = must be fastened/connected
      2. The Object of Annexation = for better enjoyment of the land
  • Tenant has no rights to remove fixture
  • Chattel = Fitting, movable eg. Aircon

Lot Number

  • 30 Town Subdivision (TS) - city area
  • 34 Mukim (MK) - outer region
  • SLA issues lot numbers = land lots
    • Strata lot: Prefix U
    • Accessory lot: Prefix A
    • Airspace: 70,000 series
    • Subterranean: 80,000 series
    • Format AADD-[UA]DDDDDDA
      • eg. MK27-U31314K = MK 27, strata lot, check sum K
  • legal description of land is not the address of the property, but the MK/TS and lot num

Estates in Land

  • Estate (Time)
    • A person does not own land, but the rights over a segment of time
    • eg. Freehold, leasehold
  • Tenure (Conditions)
    • Like tenants, with set of conditions
    • HDB has more conditions
  • Freehold
    • Grant in Fee Simple (GFS), Grant or Indenture
    • Perpetuity, subject only to the Stateโ€™s right to forcefully acquire
    • No longer granted by State
  • Estate in Perpetuity = Statutory Land Grant (SLG)
    • Another type of freehold
    • Right of the State to search for and take any mineral oil
  • Temporary Occupation Licences (TOLs) eg. Pasar Malam
    • Renew monthly/yearly
  • Encumbrance eg. outstanding mortgages, unpaid property taxes, deed restrictions
    • restriction on property which can inhibit its transfer
  • Lease = grant exclusive possession
    • Lessor = landlord, lessee = tenant
    • Tenant can exclude landlord from entering premises
  • License
    • Has no rights or interest, cannot exclude anyone from premises

Land Betterment Charge

  • Tax on the increased in land value due to change of use
  • Streamline in 2022 - All pay to SLA
  • Replaced Differential Premium etc


  • Rights of Easement = privilege over a property
  • Eg. cross neighbour land to access a road because no other path
  • Dominant Tenement (Grantee) has privilege over Servient Tenement (Grantor) land
  • Affirmative: ST gives right of way
  • Negative: ST must not obstruct
  • Implied Easements: pillar support, drainage etc
  • Extinguishment:
    • By Statute: non-use 12 years
    • Express release
    • Implied release
    • Unity of ownership and possession by one person


  • Obligation in a deed
  • Positive Covenants = payment of money etc
    • Eg. Tenant pay rent
    • Eg. Must build & maintain a fence
  • Restrictive Covenants = restriction on the use
    • Eg. Cannot build high near Istana
    • Implied under law ie. State Lands Act
    • Expressly stated in a deed
  • Discharged:
    • By waiver
    • By declaration of the court:
      • Obsolete
      • Covenantee agreed
      • The owner advertises in the newspaper of his intention to extinguish -> No objection in 14 days -> apply to High Court
  • Lasts for 20 years

Registration of Titles

  • Why need register?
    • Principle of priority
    • Identify various interest
  • 2 types of title
  • Common Law or Deeds Title
    • Under Registration of Deeds Act (RODA)
    • Old system
    • Deduced over the past 15 years (therefore must search 15 years)
  • Torrens Title
    • Under the Land Titles Act & Land Titles (Strata) Act
    • Using standard forms instead of deeds - Simpler and efficient
    • Mirror & curtain principal
    • Register mirror land ownership = WYSIWYG
    • Certificate of Titles
    • Qualified Title = caution, subject to the earlier common law title
      • Caution is effective for 5 years, during which risk of getting a defeasible title
      • After 5 years, becomes unqualified
    • Caveats
      • anyone can lodge to protect interest
      • expires after 5 years