Sers flats get extended lease of life

Some old Housing Development Board (HDB) blocks scheduled for demolition under a redevelopment scheme are enjoying an extended lease of life as temporary housing for the needy or as rental flats fetching market rates.

According to new figures released by the HDB to The Straits Times, approximately 2,200 units, or about six percent, of the 35,000 flats in 25 blocks chosen for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) are still standing. Under Sers, selected blocks are redeveloped to optimise land use.

Based on a recent poll, the programme is popular among 95 percent of the residents surveyed. Affected residents receive market-value compensation and get the chance to buy new flats.

According to the HDB, some blocks whose redevelopment plans are yet to be finalised are “leased out to meet short-term rental demand”. These blocks are leased to private operators, who pay the HDB an average of S$700 per month for every flat. These operators can decide how much to charge tenants, who must be either Singaporeans, students, holders of employment or S-Pass permits, or permanent residents.

Approximately 1,400 of the 2,200 flats selected for Sers are offered at market rental rates, while 800 are allocated for interim rental housing, which was introduced in 2009 to help needy families.

EM Services, which manages the interim rental flats in Taman Ho Swee, Havelock Road, Bedok South and Toa Payoh Lorong 5 and 6, charges approximately S$300 per month for a room, compared to the market rent of S$500 to S$600, said the HDB.

Other sites leased to private operators for interim use are located in Commonwealth Drive, Boon Lay Avenue and Tiong Bahru.

Source : PropertyGuru – 3 Mar 2011

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