HDB to build 4 new neighbourhood centres

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will build four new neighbourhood centres in Punggol, Hougang and Sembawang in five years to boost the supply of HDB shops.

It is also banning the assigning of its commercial and industrial tenancies to curb unhealthy speculation.

In a statement on Monday morning, HDB said it is building the neighbourhood centres and boosting the supply of shops to keep in step with the increased development of public housing.

The aim is to ensure that residents will have access to adequate facilities when they move into their new homes.

Besides shops, the four new neighbourhood centres will also include purpose-built public spaces to encourage community bonding.

HDB said it will announce details of the neighbourhood centres later.

Turning to tenancy of its commercial and industrial properties, HDB said it will disallow new tenants from 16 October 2013 to assign their tenancies.

That means that new tenants from 16 October will have to return the premises to HDB for re-tender if they wish to exit their businesses.

For existing tenancies, a three-year window period will be given to help the tenants make business adjustments.

From now till 15 October 2016, existing tenants can continue to assign their shops or industrial premises.

However, their assignees can no longer further assign the premises as they are considered new tenants.

To help shop tenants who wish to scale down their business operations, HDB will continue to allow shop tenants to sublet up to 50 per cent of their shop space. But only one sub-tenant is allowed.

So far, HDB has allowed its commercial and industrial tenants to assign their tenancies.

This policy was meant to facilitate the exit of marginal tenants and minimise disruption of services.

But in recent years, HDB said it has seen an upswing in average assignment fees and tendered rents.

Such increases would contribute to higher operating costs, which may be passed on to residents and consumers.

Assignment may also encourage unhealthy speculation.

HDB said its commercial and industrial properties are meant for tenants to operate businesses to serve the needs of HDB residents and consumers, and not to serve investments or speculative purposes.

To preserve the original intent, it is disallowing the assignment of commercial and industrial tenancies.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Oct 2013

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