On 5 August 2014, the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed in Parliament.
The Land Acquisition Act (the "LAA") will be amended for two main purposes:
- Revised application of betterment levy: When the Government acquires part of a land owner's land, the value of the remaining portion of land held by the land owner could increase due to the use that the land acquired will be put. Currently, the LAA requires such increase in value, known as the betterment levy, to be deducted from the statutory compensation the land owner is given for the acquired land. The LAA will be amended to remove the requirement for such increase to be deducted. Hence, land owners will receive compensation equivalent to the full market value of the acquired land.
- Enabling the management corporation (the "MC") of strata-titled developments to act on behalf of individual unit owners in acquisitions of common property: The LAA and the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act will be amended to allow the MC to represent individual unit owners when common property is acquired by the Government. The MC will also be able to use the MC's fund for acquisition related expenses. This amendment will minimise inconvenience to individual unit owners, as well as allow for quicker progress of the acquisition proceedings and disbursement of compensation. Currently, when small parcels of common areas in strata-titled developments are acquired, unit owners must go through the entire acquisition process individually even if their own units are not affected by the acquisition, and even if their share of the compensation is not significant.