Bizarre property laws in Singapore you didn’t know about

Legal trespassing? Being forced to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty, even if you don’t want to sell? Weird fines? These could all possibly happen:

singapore property laws guide
singapore property laws
singapore property laws
singapore property laws
singapore property laws

Sounds absolutely bizarre? They’re all possible scenarios given Singapore’s laws (and some of these are actually true stories).

We compiled some of the strangest property-related laws:


Land ownership

It could be legal for someone to freely enter your property. Even though, you know, it’s your property.

Take Lucy for instance. Her neighbor is legally allowed to walk across the garden of her semi-detached house, since his house has no direct access to the main road.

Her neighbour holds an easement, a right to enter Lucy’s property although he doesn’t own it.

Isn’t that legal trespassing?! Ok, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Her neighbour only has the right to her property within reasonable limits – in this case, to get to the main road – so it’s not like she’ll wake up one day to find him playing badminton in her garden.

It’s also illegal for you to be nude in your own property. Yes, even though it’s. Your. Property.

More specifically, under the Public Order and Nuisance Act, it’s illegal to appear nude to public view, even if you’re in a private place.

If found guilty, you risk a fine of up to $2,000 or 3 months of prison time.

Fingers crossed, hoping Lucy doesn’t accidentally expose herself to her neighbour while he’s crossing her garden.

If someone gets injured on your property, you could be liable for their injuries.

After all, it’s every property owner’s responsibility to upkeep the safety of their properties. So this law makes sense, right?

But here’s the kicker. If someone trips over a loose kerb outside Lucy’s house, they can also sue Lucy for negligence, because get this…

…The sidewalk outside of a semi-detached house could also belong to the owner of the house.

Which was the case for Lucy.

So if the injured party decides to sue Lucy, they’re not being crazy, they’re technically exercising the law.

When your pets break the law, you get in trouble.

Kind of like when you were young and your sibling did something wrong, and your parents decide to punish both of you.

For instance, if your pet wanders across into your neighbour’s property, they can bring you to court for trespassing, so keep a rein on your hyperactive furry friend.

Money matters

If your property goes en bloc against your will, you might be liable to up to hundreds of thousands in Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD).

In Singapore, you’ll have to pay a Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) if you sell your property within 3 years of buying it – 12% of the purchase price if you sell within your first year of ownership, 8% within the second, and 4% within the third.

So if you buy a condo unit and the entire condo goes en bloc the next day… Sorry.

But you get to vote and oppose the en bloc, right?

Yeah, but if the majority vote is a yes and the en bloc deal happens, you’re still liable to pay the SSD.

And it’s a really hefty fee, if you think about it. Say for instance you’re buying a $1M condo. If you sell within the first year of ownership, the 12% SSD amounts to $120,000.

If you BTO-ed with your partner but broke up, there IS a way to not lose your downpayment.

There’s a reason why BTO-ing with your partner seems so much like a marriage proposal – you’re putting down tens of thousands of dollars to book this BTO flat as a couple.

Which means if things don’t work out in the game of love, you’ll have to give up your BTO flat and lose all that downpayment money…

…Unless you find a replacement.

Not many know this, but if you haven’t signed the Agreement of Lease with HDB yet (i.e. you’ve only paid the downpayment), one party can find a new partner and transfer the flat’s name to that new partner instead.

This is assessed on a case-by-case basis, but we’ve heard success stories of things working out this way (not that we encourage this, plz don’t break up thx).

But if you break up at the last minute, the financial consequences are much more costly.

If you break up and forfeit your BTO flat after you’ve already signed the Agreement of Lease, that’s going to be painful.

Not just emotionally, but also financially. Everything you’ve paid for up till that point will be forfeited, and if you took up any CPF Housing Grants for your BTO flat, you’ll have to pay all of that back with interest.


Property laws in Singapore

Know of any other weird ones? Leave us a comment below!


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