Land Lease Renewal Updates
Written by Ps Alby Yip
A Blessed New Year to all you Members and Worshippers. It gives me great joy in the first Word In Season of 2022 to update you on some good news regarding our church’s land lease renewal. The Land Lease Renewal Committee met with officials from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on 14 December 2021 to discuss matters relating to our lease renewal.
The SLA officials highlighted that the government is cognizant of the high cost of land lease renewal for religious organizations (ROs). They have since formed a multi-ministry committee to review the pricing model for land lease renewal for ROs. The review is likely to result in renewal rates lower than the current level.
The review will take some time and will not be completed before the expiry of Zion Bishan’s 30-year lease on 30 June 2022. The SLA hence offered an interim rental option (3 years plus another 3 years extension) while we await the outcome of the review and its impact on renewal prices.
The following are the salient rental terms:
- Zion Bishan will have the option to terminate the rental agreement and seek a 30-year lease at any time during the 3+3 rental period.
- Zion Bishan will have the first right to a fresh 30-year lease at the end of the 3+3 rental period.
- Zion Bishan may undertake renovations and developments during the rental period subject to the usual approvals by the relevant authorities.
Zion Bishan has been strongly encouraged to take advantage of the interim rental option to benefit from a potentially much lower lease renewal price. The monthly rental indicated by SLA for the first 3 years is very reasonable compared to the estimated monthly depreciation charge if we were to renew our land at the current market rate.
The church Session held an emergency meeting on 21 December 2021 to deliberate on this offer by the SLA. It was decided that it would be in the best interest of Zion Bishan to take up the 3+3 rental option instead of proceeding with an immediate 30-year lease renewal from 1st July 2022. With the rental option, Session decided that we will not need interest-free loans for now and hence will return all interest-free loans extended to the church. We will reactivate your loving support when we are ready for the 30-year lease renewal and if extra funds are needed. However, you may inform the church should you wish to leave your loans with the church.
My heartfelt thanks to all members and worshippers for your love and support of Zion Bishan in this matter of our lease renewal. Let us be united in prayer for the government’s land lease review. Pray too for God’s continued provision not only financially but also for opportunities for us to proclaim Christ that we may indeed be a City on a Hill and a Light to the Nations.