SLA serves notice of possession to 3 landed properties after owners fail to move out after deadline

ST VIDEO: NG JUN SEN
ST VIDEO: NG JUN SEN
SLA officers serving notice to retiree Mr George Oh (right) who stays at 29 Merpati Road.
SLA officers serving notice to retiree Mr George Oh (right) who stays at 29 Merpati Road. ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN
SLA officers serving notice through the mailbox to vacate a house at Merpati Road.
SLA officers serving notice through the mailbox to vacate a house at Merpati Road. ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN
Other landed houses at Merpati Road.
Other landed houses at Merpati Road. ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Three freehold landed properties at Merpati Road were legally possessed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) from Tuesday (April 25), even though their owners have not handed over the keys to the property.

The homeowners at 27, 29 and 33 Merpati Road were served notice to move out by SLA's deputy chief executive Simon Ong and four other officers this morning. Their 12 other neighbours have already moved out before Tuesday - the final deadline given to the residents.

They had busted four previous deadlines to move out, and are still staying at the site after SLA acquired the land in 2010 for the Mattar MRT station on the Downtown Line 3 and surrounding developments.

Said a spokesman: "The owners were originally given until end August 2015 to hand over the properties. However, to accommodate the owners' requests, SLA had extended the deadline four times by a total of one year and eight months till 25 April 2017.

"The deadline cannot be extended further as agencies will need to commence road realignment and infrastructure works to prepare the area for development."

The Straits Times understands that the three households were offered between $1.7 million to $3.3 million as compensation. SLA said that this is based on market value for the acquired land and determined by private valuers.

It also accounts for any ex-gratia payment, valuation fees, removal fees, stamp fees and legal fees for the purchase of the replacement property.

To assist in their relocation, the three households were also offered various assistance packages. This includes an advance payment of 40 per cent of the compensation, reimbursement of the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty, concessionary rent back of the acquired properties, waiver of housing loan restrictions and priority balloting for a Housing Board flat.

They were also given the option of renting public housing to reside in as they look for another home.

Some of these measures were rejected by the homeowners.

Last April, SLA also took legal possession of a block of walk-up apartments at Tanjong Katong to make way for the new Amber MRT station.

Some residents there had also resisted the deadline to move out, claiming that the compensation amounts were insufficient.

Retiree Mr George Oh, 60, who lives at 29 Merpati Road with two brothers, told reporters that he intends to move out within the next one to two weeks.

He declined to comment on the compensation offered to him, but said it would be hard to get another similar landed property nearby with the compensation.

His family purchased the two-storey 2,000 sq ft in 1974. They have another flat which is still undergoing renovation.

Mr Oh also said they have resisted moving out as it was a convenient location for his brother to get to work.

Said Mr Oh: "We expected them to give us another extension today... Since they say they want to redevelop now, we intend to move out as soon as possible."

Another resident at unit number 27, who wanted to be known only as Mr Loh, also said he will move when his family manages to get a Housing Board flat.

Said the 78-year-old retiree in Mandarin: "We definitely plan to move since everyone else have done so."