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Can I apply for a HDB BTO flat before my current MOP is up?

Ask The Property Expert: What is the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)? What are the Housing and Development Board (HDB) policies and rules around it?

Scenic view from Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore, illustrating a story on HDB MOP.
Can I apply for a Housing and Development Board (HDB) Build-to-Order (BTO) flat before my current unit's Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is up? (PHOTO: Getty) (tang90246 via Getty Images)

By Dee Lim

Question:

Can I apply for a Housing and Development Board (HDB) Build-to-Order (BTO) flat before my current unit's Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is up?

Answer:

The short answer for this is no.

You may be thinking that a new BTO flat or Executive Condominium (EC) could take a few years to be completed and likely only be ready after your MOP is up. And thus, you might be considering applying for a BTO flat before your MOP is up.

HDB is quite clear on the ruling for this: You can only apply for your second BTO flat or EC unit after the current MOP has been fulfilled.

What is the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)?

The MOP is the duration of time that you are required to physically occupy your HDB flat before you can sell it on the open market.

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On its website, HDB advises that "the MOP is calculated from the date you collect the keys to your flat and excludes any period where you do not occupy the flat" – for instance, this can happen when the whole flat is rented out or when there has been an infringement of the flat lease.

The actual MOP duration depends on the purchase mode, flat type, and date of flat application.

MOP location depending on mode of purchase. (TABLE: Screengrab from HDB website.)
MOP location depending on mode of purchase. (TABLE: Screengrab from HDB website.)

Are there any HDB MOP exemptions?

Life happens and there may be strong valid reasons – for example, divorce or the death of an owner – for you to consider appealing for the MOP to be waived or shortened. You will have to lodge an appeal with HDB – each appeal is subject to HDB's discretion and assessment will be on a case-by-case basis.

How can I check my MOP duration and end date?

You can login to My HDBPage with your Singpass and check if you have met the MOP to sell your flat, under My Flat > Purchased Flat > Flat Details and Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

So if you're looking to move quickly after the five-year mark (or in some cases, 10 or 20 years), you'll have to consider a resale property once the current MOP has been fulfilled. Otherwise, be prepared to apply for a BTO unit after your MOP is up, then wait for the new flat to be ready before you're able to move in.

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