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Release of 3rd Quarter 2014 Public Housing Data

HDB Steps Up Enforcement against Unauthorised Subletting and Revises Subletting Rule for SPRs

11 Jul 2012

 HDB flats are primarily meant for owner occupation. Those who wish to sublet their flats must meet the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and obtain HDB’s approval before they can do so. This rule applies to both Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs).

Enforcement Actions Taken Against Unauthorised Subletting

2In 2011, HDB carried out 7,000 flat inspections and took action against 56 flat owners for unauthorised subletting. Of these, HDB has initiated compulsory acquisition action against 18 flat owners for blatantly infringing subletting rules. (See Annex A (PDF 22KB) for details of 3 cases where HDB has initiated compulsory acquisition actions as the flat owners have blatantly abused the public housing system and flouted HDB rules.)

Revised Subletting Rules for Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs)

3HDB reviews policies and rules regularly to keep them relevant. As part of ongoing reviews, the rules for subletting by flat owners who are SPRs will be revised with effect from 11 Jul 2012.

Current Rule

4Currently, both SC and SPR flat owners are allowed to sublet their flat after meeting the MOP. The approval is granted for a maximum of 3 years per application. Owners can apply to renew the period of subletting upon the expiry of each 3-year period, with no cap on the number of renewals and the total period of subletting.

Revised Rule

5Under the revised rule, SPR flat owners will be allowed to sublet their flat after meeting the MOP, if they have not sublet the flat before. The approval will be granted for 1 year only, instead of 3 years. Upon expiry of the 1-year period, the application to extend the approval will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and approval will be granted only if there are extenuating reasons. The total period of subletting during the flat owners' entire duration of the flat ownership is capped at 5 years.

6The revised rule is to reinforce the policy intent of providing HDB flats as homes to SPRs, and to deter those who are buying the flats for rental yield or investment. While HDB allows SPR owners who have met the MOP to sublet their flat, the subletting should be on a temporary basis. If the SPR families no longer need the flats for their own occupation, they should sell the flat instead of subletting them.

7There will be no change to the subletting rules for flat owners who are Singapore citizens.

Advice to Homeowners and Tenants

8HDB would like to remind all flat owners to comply with its terms and conditions for subletting, such as ensuring that the number of tenants does not exceed the maximum number allowed for the various flat types and that the flats are only occupied by the listed tenants. They must also monitor their tenants to prevent nuisance or misuse of the flat, such as further subletting the flat to non-authorised occupants for short-term stays.

9HDB takes a serious view of any unauthorised subletting and will take stern actions against owners, including compulsory acquisition, even if it is the owner’s first infringement. This is especially for cases where the flat owners had bought the flat purely for monetary gains, with no intention of occupying it. HDB has also encountered cases where flat owners try to circumvent HDB’s rules by locking up one room and subletting the rest of the flat without physically staying in it. Such cases will be treated as unauthorised subletting of the entire flat. Subletting of flats or bedrooms for short-term stay to tourists is also not allowed.

10Prospective tenants are also advised to familiarise themselves with the eligibility conditions for subletting, e.g. whether the flat owner has obtained HDB's approval to sublet the flat. More information can be found on HDB’s website www.hdb.gov.sg, under the section “Living in HDB flats”.

11HDB flat owners who intend to rent out their flats/rooms and tenants who are renting a flat/room are advised to check CEA’s Public Register of Estate Agents and Salespersons at www.cea.gov.sg to verify their salespersons are registered with CEA before engaging their services. In addition, flat owners and tenants should not allow their salespersons to handle rental payments or rental deposits as they are prohibited from handling transaction monies for or on behalf of any party in the lease of HDB properties.

12Consumers should only engage salespersons who are registered with CEA. They are also advised not to respond to any real estate agency flyer, leaflet or advertisement that does not provide a salesperson’s details or registration number. Consumers should report to CEA when they encounter any person not listed on the Public Register but carrying out estate agency work illegally or handling transaction monies in the lease of HDB properties. They can report the matter to the CEA at 1800-6432555 or feedback@cea.gov.sg.

For Enquiries

13The public can call the following numbers for more information or enquiries on subletting or report suspected cases of unauthorised subletting or unauthorised use of flat:

      a) For information or enquires on subletting
      HDB Branch Office Service Line @ 1800-225-5432

      b) For report on suspected unauthorised subletting / use of flat:
      HDB’s dedicated hotline @ 1800-555-6370
      (All feedback will be kept strictly confidential)