HDB unable to allow exemptions for those who inherit overseas properties: Mah

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) is unable to allow subsidised flat owners from owning overseas properties, even if they are inherited.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said this in Parliament on Monday in response to a question from MP Lee Bee Wah, who asked whether HDB will allow exemptions to those who inherit foreign properties out of bequests.

“HDB is unable to allow exemptions for those who inherited these overseas properties as a general policy. However, I will ask HDB to look into the circumstances of special cases on appeal,” said Mr Mah.

Mr Mah said the ministry has received a few hundred appeals from Permanent Residents (PRs) on this issue.

When asked how many of the appeals have been successful, Mr Mah said HDB is in the process of assessing them.

Under the current policy, HDB flat buyers are not allowed to own local or overseas private properties concurrently, within the Minimum Occupation Period.

From end August this year, the same rule also applies to buyers of non-subsidised flats.

Mr Mah said this is to ensure that those who can afford private properties anywhere do not compete for limited public housing subsidies.

He added that HDB flat buyers are required to declare any interest or ownership in private property, local or overseas.

Mr Mah also said that HDB conducts spot-checks locally and overseas.

The penalty for false declarations is a fine of up to S$5,000 or a jail term of up to six months, or both.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Oct 2010

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