A new lease on life
Friday, February 17, 2012 - 18:11
Prior to this scheme, there was substantial concern by owners of leasehold property that they would lose their homes when their leases expired, if they were unable to pay the relatively high premiums to renew their leases.
Many of those affected were senior citizens and early pioneer residents in Selangor who because of their age were unable to get loans to pay the premiums which were based on the market value of land according to the following formula:
Renewal premium = 1/4 X 1/100 X value of land (per square foot/metre without building as valued by valuation department) X leasehold period applied for (minus what you have left) X area of land
Based on this formula, the premium for a 3,000 sq ft property in Section 1 Petaling Jaya with 10 years left on the lease could amount to RM80,100 to top up to 99 years (if land was valued at RM120 per sq ft).
For a retired person it would be very difficult to raise this money without borrowing from the bank.
The new scheme allows an individual owner of the leasehold land in Selangor to renew his/her lease for up to 99 years with the payment of a nominal amount of RM1,000 provided that when he/she sells the property to a third party the relevant premium assessed at the time of sale is paid.
A condition to this effect will be endorsed on the title. This is only applicable to a sale or transfers to a third party.
Transfers to children, parents and under probate or letters of administration are not affected and can be done without further payment of premium.
This means that individual owners of leasehold lands (the scheme is only applicable to individual owners not companies) can be confident of continuing to live in their homes and pass on their properties to their children without fear of the lease expiring because they can't afford to pay the premium.
Alternatively, an owner of individual leasehold property can elect to pay the full premium and extend his/her lease.
This has a benefit of being able to immediately sell the property to a third party or charge the property to a bank for a loan with the extended lease tenure without having to factor in the additional premium to be paid later which is depended upon the market rate a the time of disposal which in all probability will be much higher.
The incentives in electing to do this is that in the case of residential property, if the premium is paid within the stipulated time is that an individual can enjoy a 30% discount on the total premium payable.
That certainly is a good incentive, because it will definitely improve the value of asset and reduce what would normally be the premium payable.
If you could afford to pay and you do not intend to keep the property in the family or you may want to have liquidity in being able to immediately dispose of the property at a lower cost then this option should be seriously considered.
In both cases above, the extension of lease is done by way of surrender and realienation under sections 76 and 197 of the National Land Code 1965.
Persons seeking to renew their lease must fill out a form available at land office and provide a list of documents in support for the application together with RM150 fee.
They must surrender their original title with quit rent and assessment receipt, copy of identity card, official search of the title, approved location plan from the land office and a letter of consent from the bank if the property is charged.
The land office will process the application and within six months to a year (if you are lucky and its election time even faster) write back to the applicant with the letter of approval in which event you select whether you want to go for the RM1,000 option or the full premium option.
Thereafter, the land office will inform you officially of the amount payable for the full premium if you picked this option and their valuation of the land value as computed in the above formula. It cannot be denied that the new scheme is good for the rakyat.
However, it is hoped that the state government do away with basing renewal premium for residential leases for individuals on market value of the land but instead fix a nominal fixed sum per sq foot/metre.
This should be done in recognition of the contribution of the individual rakyat to the collective economic growth of Selangor and the need to keep its good citizens as residents.
Simultaneously the state should also explore the possibility of allowing a property owner the option of converting his/her leasehold to freehold land with an appropriate mechanism for safeguarding short-term and long-term state revenue.
For example, the state could charge a “one-off payment” of 50% the difference on market value between the leasehold and freehold value of the property, together with imposing an increase in quit rent and assessment of say 15% (to safeguard long-term revenue) for those who elect to convert from leasehold to freehold.
This would yield immediate funds for the state that if properly invested would far outweigh premium increases after 99 years. Certainly this matter deserves to be raised and properly debated at the National Land Council with the view of raising billions of Ringgit in immediate revenue for Malaysia.
This will provide a huge and much needed kickstart to the national economy in line with federal national transformation objectives as well as providing a much needed injection of capital and liquidity into the banking and property sectors.
Such a move will also provide much-needed cash reserves for federal and state governments to fund various critical infrastructure services and health programmes.
For example a 5,000 sq ft bungalow lot in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya with the lease and a current market value of say RM200 per sq ft and if valued as freehold at RM400 per sq ft will yield the government RM500,000 in conversion premium with increase in 15% in quit rent and assessment.
And that is only one bungalow in Tropicana!