By Romesh Navaratnarajah:The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has reduced the period by which Singapore permanent residents (PRs) can sublet their flats from the current three years to just one year. This is to deter flat owners from acquiring flats for investment or rent. Previously, PRs followed an equal set of rules as Singapore citizens whereby they could request approval from the HDB to sublet their flats for as long as three years, subsequent to the completion of the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).However, the new revisions only allow PRs to sublet their flats for no more than a year, if they are subletting for the first time.The new rules mean that applications to extend approvals will be assessed at the end of the year on a case-by-case basis. In addition, subletting a flat will only be allowed for a total period of five years.This is in contrast to previous regulations where owners could renew the period of subletting once the three-year period expired and there was no limit as to the number of renewals and total period allowed for subletting.
HDB added that a crackdown on illegal subletting last year resulted in the compulsory acquisition of flats from 18 owners. A total of 56 owners were penalised for subletting their flats without seeking approval from the HDB.
According to the housing board, PRs could just sell their flats if they no longer wish to use them for occupation. Meanwhile, no changes have been made to the flat ownership rules for Singapore citizens. Related stories:Khaw: HDB closely monitors BTO quality, standardsHolland Village residences worried about car park demolitionHDB wins prestigious eco award