3-room flat could be housing 17 tenants; under investigation by HDB

A former tenant said that a Teban Gardens flat had up to 20 tenants. A "room" was created in the living room and even the storeroom was rented out.
A former tenant said that a Teban Gardens flat had up to 20 tenants. A "room" was created in the living room and even the storeroom was rented out. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER
A former tenant said that a Teban Gardens flat had up to 20 tenants. A "room" was created in the living room and even the storeroom was rented out.
A former tenant said that a Teban Gardens flat had up to 20 tenants. A "room" was created in the living room and even the storeroom was rented out. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER

SINGAPORE - A three-room flat in Teban Gardens is under investigation after a former tenant complained that it is housing up to 20 tenants, Shin Min Daily News reported on Tuesday (April 19).

Even the storeroom was rented out as a room, former tenant Mr Tian told the Chinese paper.

Mr Tian, 25, said he once rented a bed at the flat from a master tenant for $250 a month.

"When I got there, I found more than 20 people. One of the bedrooms had four double-decker beds," he told Shin Min.

He said that there were curtains to cordon off an area in the living room, which had four bed spaces.

The turnover was high, and he estimated there are about six people staying in each room now, and 17 tenants in total.

A couple once stayed in the storeroom but moved out seven months ago after they quarrelled with other tenants.

Another man moved in after they left, and was charged $380 for a "relatively private" space.

Mr Tian, who works at a car wash, also said that all the tenants shared one common bathroom, and sometimes the wait to use the toilet or shower could last an hour.

The refrigerator and washing machine were also shared.

Mr Tian said he rented his bed from a "master tenant" named Mr Liu.

However, Mr Liu denied that he was the master tenant, and said Mr Tian bears a grudge against him.

The Housing & Development Board said that they are investigating the suspected case of overcrowding at Block 44, Teban Gardens.

In this case, the flat owner had obtained HDB's approval to sublet the flat.

HDB received feedback about the unit last year but inspections and interviews with neighbours then did not find any signs of unauthorised subletting.

Investigations are now ongoing, as a result of the latest feedback.

"HDB takes a serious view on unauthorised subletting and overcrowding of HDB flats. We will take action against the flat owner if the subletting rules are found to have been flouted," it said in a statement.

The flat owner could be fined, or the flat repossessed for unauthorised subletting, HDB said.

Main sub-tenants who further sublet the flat may also be barred for five years from renting an HDB flat.

Members of the public who come across suspected cases of unauthorised subletting or misuse of a flat can contact HDB on 1800-555 6370.