Collective Sales as a Legal Means of Singapore’s Urban Planning Policy: The Legal Framework, Issues and Solutions


  • Keang Sood TEO Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore


property rights, land policy




The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is the national land use planning and  conservation  authority  regulating  and facilitating the physical development of Singapore. The URA seeks to achieve the twin national objectives of better utilisation of scarce prime land resources to meet a growing population and to provide for urban regeneration. Difficulties were encountered prior to 1999 as unanimous consent was required for termination of strata developments. A single recalcitrant unit owner could block a sensible collective sale or even blackmail other unit owners as the price of his co-operation. One or two die-hards may veto an eminently reasonable proposal to dispose of the whole strata development or demand concessions to which they are not entitled. In a strata development of any size, it was highly, if not virtually, impossible to obtain unanimity amongst unit owners. Furthermore, society as a whole has an interest in the termination question for strata developments which have outlived their usefulness as acceptable housing schemes and thus open the way for the creation of slums. In addition, the development potential of the lands in question could not be maximised.

Towards achieving the national objectives noted above, the collective sale regime by majority consent for both landed and non-landed strata developments was thus introduced in 1999 in Singapore’s strata title legislation. This paper aims to provide a brief outline of the legal framework governing the collective sale regime. It will also discuss the issues posed by the collective sale regime and the solutions in resolving them. Among others, the paper will consider the following: (i) does the collective sale scheme amount to an erosion of the property rights of unit owners? (ii) the constitutionality of such a scheme (iii) the efficacy of the additional safeguards introduced to protect the rights of minority unit owners (iv) the position of co-owners of a unit (v) the nature of the duties of the collective sale committee in ensuring that the sale transaction is in good faith (vi) circumstances in which a sale transaction will not be approved or allowed (apart from where the transaction is not in good faith) (vii) incentive payments to objecting unit owners by purchaser of strata development and (viii) some possible areas for reform of the collective sale legislation.