Parliament: Khaw addresses questions on Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme

Whether family members can buy the remainder of the lease that their parents sold back to the Housing Board depends on their eligibility to buy a HDB flat, National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan said. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Whether family members can buy the remainder of the lease that their parents sold back to the Housing Board depends on their eligibility to buy a HDB flat, National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan said. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Whether family members can buy the remainder of the lease that their parents sold back to the Housing Board depends on their eligibility to buy a HDB flat, National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan said on Tuesday.

He was fielding questions from two MPs about the Lease Buyback Scheme, under which HDB flat owners keep 30 years of their lease and sell the rest back to the Government. More recently, the Government announced that the scheme would be extended to four-room flats in August, which allows more than half of all flat owners to opt for this scheme.

Responding to Workers' Party MP Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC), who asked if the children of those who signed up to the scheme could buy back the balance of the lease that was sold back to the HDB, Mr Khaw said this depends on their eligibility to buy a flat.

If they are already flat owners, for example, they would not be allowed to own a second HDB flat under curent rules. In any case, he added, any such transaction would have to be conducted at the prevailing price.

He also reiterated that when the elderly owners die, any remaining lease would be bequeathed to their beneficiaries, who can continue to live in the flat for the remainder of the lease or return the flat to the HDB and receive the residual value of the remaining lease.

Mr Khaw also a question from Mr David Ong (Jurong GRC) on the rationale of the scheme's requirement that both lessees of the flat - husband and wife - must be at least 63 years old.

The scheme is set at the CPF draw-down age to ensure that all scheme participants can enjoy immediate monthly payouts under CPF Life, after topping up their CPF Retirement Accounts with the proceeds, he said.

For households who do not meet the age criterion, Mr Khaw suggested other options like sub-letting a bedroom or an entire flat for rental income, or downsizing to a smaller flat and enjoying the Silver Housing Bonus if eligible.

rachelay@sph.com.sg