A. in Singapore, land is not the subject matter of absolute ownership as such, but of tenure. The State in turn holds the land and issues different leases or grants of the land. These leases and grants are popularly known as estates and as a rule comprise freehold estates, estates in perpetuity and leasehold estate. Each estate shows the time and extent of the owner’s interest in that respective land.
Freehold estates are mainly of two types: Firstly, it is the fee simple wherein an owner of the property owns the property for an indefinite period and there is no requirement for payment of rent as such and hence, upon the death of the owner it passes on to the successor. Secondly, it is the life estate and it confers ownership for lifetime of a person.Leasehold estates are primarily provides grant in terms of 99 year leases, or 999 year leases. Thereby, the land belongs only to the state of Singapore, which leases the property to lessee subject to certain conditions and limitations. Finally, there is an estate in perpetuity which is created by granting land to an individual by the state in perpetuity, subject to conditions set up by the parties.
So the given case mainly deals with the freehold leases and easementary rights connected with the property. Herein, the present case Ethan has purchased an old farm and surrounding land later he has converted the same into stay for tourist. There is a road which is going with the eastern edge of the land and Go-kart circuit is going with the western boundary and Ethan use the same for his own purpose to park the car at the western end of the old farm. Once Ethans family left him he has converted the land into dwelling house out of which, he was using western end for his own use and gave eastern half on lease to Evan for six months. Also, Ethan allowed Evan to use the shed (which Ethan didn’t use earlier for his own purpose) for keeping his kart as Evan was keen of Go-karting.
Now, at the end of the lease Evan has purchased the dwelling land from Ethan I.e. Half of the dwelling land. Lease and transfer not expressing, whether Ethan is allowed to drive across Evan’s Land and document is also silent about the storage of Kart. Moreover, property and the Kart is sold to the Eric. Subsequently, Eric is objecting Ethan to drive across his land and Ethan keeps on saying he will not allow Evan to keep his Kart in the shed, even if Eric prevents him from using the road.
Evan bought the freehold of eastern half of the dwelling land from Ethan. Both the lease and the transfer were silent on whether Ethan could drive across Evan’s land and there was no mention in the document for the storage of the Kart. And Evan then just sold his property and kart to Eric. Now, Eric is objecting Ethan to drive across his land and Ethan says he will stop Evan from keeping his kart in the shed if Eric prevents him from using the road.
Thus, this case also involves analysis of easementary rights along with other interests in the land which is provided under Part X of Land Titles Act of Singapore (hereinafter referred to as LTA). Easementary Right is an interest of landowner which gives him either a affirmative or negative right to gain some limited advantage over the property of another for his own use. Muthukumaran s/o Varthan v. Kwong Kai Chung “such as a right of way, a right to light or a right to support. It is a species of real property that is “parasitic upon the land” The Singapore courts have held that once any easemnetary right begins to exist, it is very difficult to extinguish it Front field Investment Holding (Pte) Ltd v. Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No. 938 and others . The LTA did not provide for an easement to be varied or extinguished, either in whole or in part, or by any reason of changes in the character of the land or the surrounding circumstances. But Section 105A of the LTA has given a new avenue to it which gave power to the Court to extinguish easementary.
According to the given case Eric is not allowed to store his Kart in the Shed of Ethan land anymore. As, it was not any kind of easementary right which was created in Eric by way of transfer through Evan. It was Ethan’s personal choice because of which he was allowing Evan to keep his kart in the shed. Therefore, it is advisable Eric should restrict himself from storing his Kart under the shed owned by Eric. If it would have been any kind of easementary right created in the property it would have extinguished or the servient owner could have asked the dominant owner to pay for the same according to Section 105 of LTA.
B. The relationship between the properties mentioned in the question is that of Freehold estate concerning whether it relates to a creation of easementary or not over the transferred property. As Evan has bought the Freehold from Ethan which appears to be absolute transfer of interest, so the property transferred to Evan by Ethan will fall under the category of fee simple of Freehold estates. Further, it is also apparent from the question that Evan is not paying any rent or any fee as such, therefore it can be established that property is that of a Freehold estates. Also the said property does not create any kind of easementary right upon the transfer. Even the document was silent upon this question that if Evan had any right to keep the shed in the Ethan’s land or not. Consequently, Eric will not get any such right upon Ethan’s land.
Dentons Rodyk, A new avenue in the law of easements in the Singapore
Halsbury’s Laws of Singapore Volume 14 (Land), 2005 reissue.
Kelvin Fatt Kin Low, Singapore Management University,Singapore: Legislation and Case Law Developments: Damages, Easements, Caveats, Trusts and Proprietary Estoppel, https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/1389/
Land Title’s Act, 1960
Singapore Legal Advice, Types of property and home ownership in Singapore, https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/types-of-property-and-home-ownership-in-singapore/
Yeo Tiong Min, ‘Ch.06 The Conflict of Laws’: www.singaporelaw.sg.
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