Everything about the Temporary Occupation License Singapore

Posted By Singapore Translators | Publised At 20/08/2021
Last Modified: 13th Oct 2023

There are many state land and properties that are not immediately in use after the development. So you can give them good economic use in the interim period. The Temporary Occupation License (TOL) is the temporary license provided by the state land rules for acquiring the land for a temporary basis, provided that the license holder complies with the state land terms and conditions decided by the collector of land revenue.

Singapore land authority (SLA) provides the state land via tenancy agreement and TOLs. Some of the most common examples of under renewable TOL are worksite, signage, show flat, landscaping, etc., that can be rent out in Singapore. There are several things that every applicant should know about a temporary occupation license. This article is a total guide in which we have covered some basic and must-know facts about the TOL.

Everything about the Temporary Occupation License Singapore

What is a Temporary Occupation License (TOL)?

A Temporary Occupation License (TOL) is a License issued by SLA for the temporary use of State land or to retain minor encroachment from private properties onto State land.

Several entities or individuals can provide the land for a temporary purpose only if the Singapore authorities provide the temporary license. The reason for acquiring the temporary occupation license is to grant the individuals to acquire the state land, reserve land, and mining land, which are presently not getting in use for mining or several other reasons for which it was reserved. Moreover, the Singapore government and Singapore land authority have imposed several regulations on using the land.

There are several situations where business entities or individuals can request a temporary occupation license. For example, many contractors apply for the temporary occupation license to form a temporary work site while constructing houses, individuals opening food stalls/ night markets, corporate entities creating parking bays, etc. Additionally, those individuals who request the temporary occupational license to reside temporarily on the land are one of the most common methods of using a Temporary Occupation License (TOL) in Singapore.

A temporary occupation license is valid for 1 year. The temporary occupation license will come into effect once the Singapore government has issued it. Therefore, the license holder should apply for the license renewal before it expires.

What Happens when TOL Expires?

Once your temporary occupation license gets expired, and in case the state authority does not prove your application for the renewal of the license:

  • In such a situation, the equipped land will be returned to the relevant authority, and its respective owners will require terminating equipping the land. In case even after the expiry of the temporary occupation license, the holders are still continuing to occupy the land, then in such a situation, they will be considered squatter or trespasser. A squatter or trespasser can be sued for violation.
  • Any rights related to the land provided to its respective holder regarding the use of land will be automatically terminated.
  • Any property that was already built before the permission of the temporary occupation license except those that are created for a temporary basis and will be removed in the future will be vested in the hands of state authorities.
  • The relevant state authority of Singapore will not provide any compensation to the respective holder regarding any building that rests in the hands of the state authority.

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What Rights Do TOL Holders Have Prior/ Post Expiry of TOL?

In this article, we will discuss the various rights that TOL holders are entitled to before and after their investments expire.

Prior to  Expiry

  • The license holder can be anyone from an individual or company who enjoys the temporary rights on the land until the expiry of the temporary occupation license. The license holder also enjoys the right to take legal action against any other individual or business entity that violates the land. This includes taking legal action against the violation by the previous holder.
  • The holder of the license is also granted to rent out or provide tenancy for the temporary properties to the other party until the expiry of the temporary license. This will require the respective holder to set up civil proceedings, including eviction orders or distress against the prospective tenants.
  • Moreover, a Temporary Occupation license cannot be allotted to another party until their rights are entirely transferred through the application submitted by its present holder to the company registrar prior to the expiration of the Temporary Occupation License.
  • Also, note that the license holder’s rights will automatically be terminated upon the holder’s death if the license holder already confers the rights so it cannot be transferred to any other individual or the company.


Post Expiry

All the temporary occupation license rights will be terminated after the expiry of the temporary occupation license. The only right that will be vested in the hands of the temporary occupation license holder of the right to equip the land on a temporary basis until the expiry of the temporary occupation license. This means that the license does not provide any equitable or legal rights to the holder. However, the license holder is not granted to take any legal action against the authority if they do not refuse the renewal of the license nor he can take action against any respective holder equipping the same land for the expenses he incurred on the land during the duration of the license.

According to the law, it has been mentioned that no title to the state land will be obtained by the possessions, occupation, or unlawful occupation as per any license for any point in time. Therefore, it has been said that it is unfair to have an emotional attachment with the land, which these state authorities can, later on, reclaim once the license gets expired. Therefore, any aspiring temporary occupation license applicant should understand the regulation and risks associated with applying for the temporary occupation license.

Basic terms related to Temporary Occupation license

There are some most basic terms associated with the temporary occupation license areas:

  • The collector of the land revenue or any of the authorized officers appointed by him might enter the land with the motive of inspection or other reasons.
  • The approved license or the tenancy of the land cannot be transferred or assigned to any other third party in any manner, no matter whatever is the reason, without any written consent of the collector of land.
  • The license or the tenancy will be automatically terminated or transferred upon the death of the license holder or the tenant.
  • The license holder or the temporary tenant of the building or not granted to rent out the land to any third person or person concerning which the license has been provided without the written permission from the collector of land revenue.
  • No license holders are allowed to construct or add any additional part of the land without any prior written permission from the collector of the land revenue.
  • No license holder or tenants are granted to sign for any advertisement agreement or hoarding to be fixed on the land without prior consent from the respective collector of land revenue.
  • During the duration of the temporary occupation license, no license holder or tenants are allowed to construct a permanent building without any prior written notice from the collector of land revenue.

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Can TOL land be sold?

The temporary occupation license cannot be transferred to any third party until its present holder submits the application with the registrar prior to the expiry of the TOL. However, the rights of the present temporary occupation license holder will only be terminated upon the death of the holder but cannot be transferred to anyone else.

What is Tol in land law?

As per Singapore law, the temporary occupation license means a mere license or permit to equip the particular part of the state land. Temporary occupation license cannot last longer than one year (expires every year on Dec 31). However, the holder has the option to renew the license not just once but repeatedly.

How long is a temporary occupation license valid?

A temporary occupation license is only valid for one year. However, the license will only expire on the final day of the specific year i.e. 31 Dec, no matter in which month it was issued.

Who Issues Temporary Occupation permit?

Commissioner of building control issues the temporary occupation permit. As soon as the construction of the building has been successfully completed, the applicant and eligible candidates can apply for the temporary occupation permit to the commissioner of building control. The building can only be equipped upon the approval of the Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) or a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).

What does TOP mean in HDB?

A temporary occupation permit is defined as the authorities’ temporary permit to grant respective owners to equip the land. This permit is issued to only those applicants who have fulfilled all the essential regulatory requirements related to the development and have received approval from the authorities.

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Hopefully, after reading the above article, you might be aware of all the details related to the Temporary Occupation License, including its prior and post-expiry rights. Thus, you need to read each information properly before continuing.

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