HDB doubles grace period for rental transfers

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has doubled the grace period for long-time tenants affected by a rule that restricts them from transferring their business space.

The three-year assignment grace window will be extended to six years for commercial and industrial tenants who have been HDB tenants for at least 15 years as of Oct 16 last year, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday in his blog.

The HDB had relaxed the policy following feedback from various groups of tenants, of which a significant proportion will be retiring in a few years’ time, or would be near retirement then, he said.

Under the rule imposed last October, new tenants will not be allowed to assign their properties and must return the premises to the HDB for re-tender if they choose to exit their businesses. Existing tenants, however, were given a three-year grace period to make business adjustments.

About 7,100 tenants, or 40 per cent of those who rent HDB commercial and industrial space, will benefit from the special concession. Among them, 77 per cent are aged 55 years and above, Mr Khaw noted.

“I hope the extended grace period would better help them make the necessary business adjustments to dovetail with their retirement plans. This concession is a good way to recognise their many years of serving the local community,” he said.

HDB said the policy was introduced following an upward trend in assignment fees and tendered rent in recent years. It aimed to weed out high assignment fees and unhealthy speculation, as the higher operating costs will eventually be passed on to consumers.

The rule change has been effective, with the average transfer fees for HDB commercial and industrial properties having fallen by about 33 and 42 per cent, respectively, since last October, Mr Khaw noted.

Source : Today – 3 May 2014

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