Reasons behind high quit rent arrears

MORE than half a million accounts in all nine districts of Selangor are in arrears for non-payment of quit rent.

As of late September last year, the amount of quit rent arrears in the state amounted to about RM370mil, from 555,604 land titles.

The Petaling district racked up the highest amount of arrears, RM117.7mil from 131,455 land titles.

This was followed by Klang district with RM62.6mil from 100,737 land titles.

On Dec 31,2019, Selangor was RM295.6mil in arrears, from 461,124 titles.

A spokesperson from the Selangor Land and Mines Office (PTGS) revealed that most of the land tax arrears occurred due to the issue of overlapping, namely old titles that should have been cancelled after new ones were registered.

“This duplication of title occurs as a result of the transfer of ownership of the land where the old title should be revoked following the issuance of a new title, ” said the spokesperson.

The high amount in arrears is also because land owners have not paid their quit rent for up to three years.

“We mobilise vans at shopping complexes for our quit rent collection campaign to encourage people to pay up.

“Non-payment of quit rent, which comes under the state government, is different from non-payment of assessment tax, which comes under local councils.

“The money from assessment tax goes for the upkeep of public amenities and infrastructure.

“For quit rent arrears, PTGS can only remedy the problem by issuing Form 6A under Sections 97 and 98 of the National Land Code 1965 (NLC), namely Notice of Demand in Arrears of Rent.

“The land owner has three months from the date of the notice to pay up the arrears, ” the spokesperson explained.

Failing which, he said Form 8A under Section 130 of the NLC will be issued to the land owner for the state authority to confiscate the land under Notice of Reversion to the State.

In a StarMetro report on Oct 5 titled “Derelict houses in Petaling Jaya more than just an eyesore”, PTGS said the second reason for forfeiture of land was when the owner failed to adhere to stipulated conditions of land ownership.

“There are specific reasons here. For example, the land is meant for planting rubber trees but instead it is used to cultivate oil palm.

“This is where we can take action under breach of condition under Form 7A as Notice to Remedy a Breach of Condition.”

The spokesperson said that after receiving Form 8A as notice of forfeiture, the land owner would have to settle the arrears and pay a one-off premium, which would depend on the type of land.

“Agricultural land is the lowest in terms of premium rate, followed by residential land, which premium can run up to tens of thousands of ringgit.

“The premium for industrial land can cost up to millions of ringgit, ” he elaborated.

He added that the land owner could challenge the matter in court.

A spokesperson from the Petaling Land Office said two issues were the cause of huge arrears.

“One is that the status of the surrendered titles have not been updated in the system, so these appear as ‘non-payment’.

“This makes up about 20% of total arrears.

“We are still sorting out and updating the figures.”

The other reason, the spokesperson added, was due to technicalities, as many land owners claimed they did not receive their quit rent bills due to change of address.

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