Forum: Active efforts to help public rental tenants purchase their own HDB flats

HDB flats at Toa Payoh Lorong 8.
HDB flats at Toa Payoh Lorong 8.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Kevin Tan for his feedback (Speed up home-ownership process for those living in rental flats, May 1).

The Housing Board is committed to helping Singaporeans own a home, including those from low-income households who live in public rental flats.

There are ongoing efforts by officers from HDB branches across Singapore to regularly meet rental tenants and engage those who are ready to apply for an HDB flat.

In the past five years, about 5,000 of these public rental tenants purchased flats with the help of various HDB housing schemes and grants.

We also recognise that some of these tenants are unable to navigate the process of buying a flat on their own, and it is for this reason that the HDB set up the Home Ownership Support Team (HST) last year, which provides more structured support to this group. The HST guides these tenants through their home ownership journey, including working out their housing budget and options, and navigating the processes involved from application to key collection.

The HST also works closely with the social service agencies to provide better support for families who need to resolve other issues before committing to a flat purchase.

The HST does not work in isolation.

It is part of the HDB's and the Government's broader efforts to support rental households and help them in their journey towards home ownership.

As buying a flat is a long-term financial commitment, flat buyers are encouraged to purchase a flat only when they are financially ready to do so. Various Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants are available to first-time flat buyers.

Other schemes such as the Fresh Start Housing Scheme and the Enhanced Step-Up CPF Housing Grant cater to public rental households who are second-time buyers.

Public rental households also get higher chances of a successful flat application through the Tenants' Priority Scheme.

Foo-Ho Yoke Ming

Director (Rental Housing)

Housing Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2020, with the headline 'Active efforts to help public rental tenants purchase their own HDB flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe