The Straits Times
Published on Jan 28, 2013

Disallow subletting of HDB flats


I APPLAUD the Government for the recent tough measures which I believe will go a long way to help first-time homeowners and ease the demand for investment property ("Tough action to cool property market"; Jan 12).

However, I do not understand why Singaporeans who can afford to buy and live in a private apartment are allowed to hold on to and sublet their HDB flat.

Out of all the flats being sublet, only 5 per cent, or 2,142 units, are owned by permanent residents. This leaves Singaporeans as owners of 95 per cent of the sublet units.

HDB flats seem to have become an investment tool for such Singaporeans. This goes against the philosophy of the Housing Board.

Also, the total number of flats that are sold or sublet every year has remained stagnant for the past three years.

There is a consistent trend of more sublet flats being made available at the expense of resale flats, resulting in a neutral effect on the HDB supply.

I believe this trend will continue regardless of how many HDB flats are built. I sympathise with those who cannot own a HDB flat because of spiralling prices caused by speculators.

As such, I urge the Government to consider the following in future rounds of cooling measures:

- Disallow subletting of all HDB flats, unless there are genuine extenuating circumstances.

- HDB owners who own a private property must sell their flat within a reasonable period of time.

Valerie Lau (Ms)