On 7 July 2014, the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2014 (the “Bill”) was introduced in Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Land Acquisition Act (the “Act”) to restrict the imposition of betterment levy and to introduce a special procedure for non-lot acquisition.
Betterment levy arises where the owner of land being acquired owns “other land” and the “other land” will increase in value by reason of the use to which the land acquired will be put. The quantum of the betterment levy is deducted from the compensation payable to the owner for the acquired land.
The Bill seeks to clarify the meaning of “other land” by providing the example of “contiguous or adjacent land”.
The Bill also seeks to amend the Act to restrict the situations where the betterment levy may be deducted from the compensation. The Bill provides that the betterment levy is to be deducted from the amount of compensation that would otherwise be payable for severing the owner’s land from his other land, or for injuriously affecting the owner’s other property, or both, where applicable.
The Bill also seeks to introduce a special procedure for claims to compensation where only the common property of a strata development is compulsorily acquired (“non-lot acquisition”).
The Act will be amended to provide that a management corporation constituted for a strata title plan (the “MC”) is competent to alienate the common property so acquired and to receive any compensation awarded for any non-lot acquisition relating to its strata title plan. This is notwithstanding that common property in a strata development is owned not by the MC but is owned jointly by the subsidiary proprietors as tenants-in-common.
The Bill also provides for the general rule that any amount of compensation awarded for any non-lot acquisition relating to a strata title plan will not be apportioned among the subsidiary proprietors owning lots in that strata title plan, but be awarded to the MC. The exception is where the subsidiary proprietors agree by a special resolution referred to in section 85A(4) of the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act. If such a special resolution is passed, the amount of compensation awarded for a non-lot acquisition is to be apportioned among the subsidiary proprietors in shares proportional to the share values of their respective lots.