HDB flats are primarily meant for owner occupation. Those who wish to sublet their flats must meet the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and obtain HDB’s approval before they can do so. This rule applies to both Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs).
In 2011, HDB carried out 7,000 flat inspections and took action against 56 flat owners for unauthorised subletting. Of these, HDB has initiated compulsory acquisition action against 18 flat owners for blatantly infringing subletting rules.
HDB reviews policies and rules regularly to keep them relevant. As part of ongoing reviews, the rules for subletting by flat owners who are SPRs will be revised with effect from 11 Jul 2012.
Under the revised rule, SPR flat owners will be allowed to sublet their flat after meeting the MOP, if they have not sublet the flat before. The approval will be granted for 1 year only, instead of 3 years. Upon expiry of the 1-year period, the application to extend the approval will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and approval will be granted only if there are extenuating reasons. The total period of subletting during the flat owners’ entire duration of the flat ownership is capped at 5 years.
The revised rule is to reinforce the policy intent of providing HDB flats as homes to SPRs, and to deter those who are buying the flats for rental yield or investment. While HDB allows SPR owners who have met the MOP to sublet their flat, the subletting should be on a temporary basis. If the SPR families no longer need the flats for their own occupation, they should sell the flat instead of subletting them.
There will be no change to the subletting rules for flat owners who are Singapore citizens.
HDB takes a serious view of any unauthorised subletting and will take stern actions against owners, including compulsory acquisition, even if it is the owner’s first infringement. This is especially for cases where the flat owners had bought the flat purely for monetary gains, with no intention of occupying it.