HDB starts action to re-possess 3 flats for unauthorised subletting in Q1

Since the beginning of this year, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has started taking action to re-possess three flats for unauthorised subletting.

The flat owners had rented out their entire units without fulfilling a minimum occupation period.

The housing board stressed that HDB flats are meant for owners to live in not for speculative purposes.

A routine inspection in Bukit Batok uncovered more than 20 people staying in the maisonette. 17 of them are maids.

Obviously, the owner has gone beyond the limit of nine sub-tenants and could lose his flat.

Flat owners can sublet their whole flats after they have fulfilled a minimum occupation period and have gained prior approval from the HDB.

However, there are some flat owners who try to circumvent the rules by locking up one bedroom and subletting the rest of the flat without physically staying in the unit.

The penalty for such an offence ranges from fines to repossession of the flat.

From January 2008 to December 2009, HDB took enforcement action against 56 flat owners who subletted their flats without the HDB’s approval.

The penalties for these 56 cases ranged from fines of S$1,000 to S$21,000 to the repossession of their flats. These 56 cases are from all flat types.

The housing board also set up a hotline last month to get tip-offs.

Teo Chye Hwa, head, HDB Bukit Batok Branch Office, said: “Once we receive a call, first we will verify whether the owner is allowed to sublet the whole flat. Once that is verified, we will conduct further investigation to gather more evidence of illegal subletting of the flats.”

It received more than 60 calls in three weeks and is investigating these cases.

The housing board said it will continue to step up routine checks to weed out unauthorised subletting.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 8 Apr 2010

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