Martin Lee @ Sg
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HDB Revises Subletting Rules for PRs

The revised subletting rules for Singapore permanent residents (SPR) took effect from yesterday.

Previously, both Singapore citizens and SPR flat owners are allowed to sublet their flat after meeting the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). The approval is granted for a maximum of three 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.

Under 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. Instead of three years, the approval will be granted for one year only.

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 five years.

The revised rule is to reinforce the policy intent of providing HDB flats as homes to SPR, 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.

The problem with these rules is whether they can be enforced properly. I suspect some PRs who don’t fulfill the rules might end up subletting their units without getting any approval. Just like how some people are presently subletting their units for short-term stay.

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6 comments
Joe P says 6 years ago

As a PR can i say that i probably pay more more tax than many locals and take less from the system than most Singaporeans. I’m not allowed to do lots of things locals can do and I have fewer rights. And I have to pay the Casino levy. I dont mind I like living here. But i am getting a bit tired of the PR bashing. I’m excluded from the HDB market by being a PR and excluded from the condo market by foreign investors driving up the price.

This is not a PR problem.

The rental prices here are insane. I hae viewed condos and there are mattresses piled up against the wallls where 7 or 8 people are sub letting tos ave rent.

How many condos are standing empty because foreign owners have bought 5 or 10 and are just holding them ? I talk to agents and they tell me they were doing 5 condo multi million dollar deals last year . The owners dont want to rent to locals or PRs because they dont trust them !! They would rather leave them empty and wait.

Its about time there was a tax on empty condos after the first one. This would encourage people to rent and consequently bring down the rental prices to a sensible level. Rental prices come down, condo prices will come down.

BTW The ROI on the HDB is much higher for a local which nobody ever talks about when they are bashing PRs.

My local friend just rented her two bedroom HDB in the west for 3200 a month. She paid 400K for it and has moved back in with her parents. We walked around a local condo where they are asking for 5300+ per month and most of the lights are out in the building at night. Those condos are new, small and cost 1.5M up. But the agent will show you a nice picture of the swimming pool.

Gross ROI on HDB nearly 10% per year
Gross ROI on Condo less than 5%

Net ROI is even better because Monthly Admin fees probably S$500 in a condo to pay for that pool you never swim in instead of the S$75 in an HDB.

Reply
    sender says 6 years ago

    i too know of many singaporeans who don’t qualify to buy a HDB flats. They likely pay more taxes than you and I. They too must compete with the PRs and foreigners to buy private properties. When one choose to work in another country, one should know the rules and adapt accordingly. You had your choices and you took it. Accept it then.

    Reply
nothing much says 6 years ago

Not only the PR’s but I see majority of Singaporeans doing the same.i.e. packing dozens in HDB’s.
If they’re to put the rules they should be applicable to all irrespective of specific group. So we all can leave peacefully and HDB purpose is met.

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    sender says 6 years ago

    So what are you gonna to do about it? why aren’t you reporting to the Authorities? nothing to do with nationalites right? If you do your part, you too can live peacefully and purpose met right?

    Reply
xyz says 6 years ago

Don’t forget that the new rules are targeted at PRs renting out their entire flats. If just want to rent out bedrooms, there is no MOP and no 5-year cap.

Most of the newer PRs who are renting out their HDB flats are doing so via room rentals. Not just bedrooms, but many even rent out the living room and bomb shelter as sleeping quarters to foreigners.

Under HDB rules, you can pack 9 people into a 4-rm flat. If some of the foreigners work shifts, then you can pack even more, maybe 14-16. Becoz at any one time, the HDB inspectors will only see half of them.

And in the first place, having a HDB inspector checking a flat is already like striking Toto.

So such PRs don’t even have to break the law to rent out their HDB flats. Even if they break some regulations, it is very difficult for authorities to prove or catch them in the act.

Reply
stinger says 6 years ago

Even if there are people willing to whistle-blow, how do one know that the flat status? Does those which has such restriction has a label on their door? Thanks for yet another unenforceable policy?

Reply
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