Occupancy rules consistent for sold and public rental flats

We refer to the forum letter on rental housing (More can be done to improve public rental system; Feb 23) and the commentary (HDB should apply its own occupancy rules to rental housing; Feb 16).

Both suggested that the same occupancy rules be applied for both sold and public rental Housing Board flats.

We would like to state that this is indeed the case today. There is no cap on the number of family members who can live together, be it in a sold or rental HDB flat.

The occupancy cap applies only when HDB owners rent out their flats or rooms to unrelated persons. This is because HDB flats are built for Singaporean families to live and grow up in. Hence, the cap was put in place to maintain a conducive living environment and uphold the residential character of our public housing estates.

We are always looking at ways to improve our public rental system to help families in need. In recent years, HDB has increased the number of rental units and reduced the queue for public rental.

The rental flats are heavily subsidised to enable families to build up their finances, and work towards home ownership eventually.

In the last five years, about 3,000 rental tenants have bought their first home from HDB, with the help of housing grants and priority schemes.

In 2016, the Government introduced a Fresh Start scheme to help second-timer families with young children in rental flats. Under this scheme, they will be eligible for another housing grant to buy a new flat, and become home owners again.

Many of the families in public rental require holistic support, not just with owning a home, but also in securing jobs and finding care arrangements for their dependants. That is why HDB works closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and other partners to assist them in their journey towards home ownership.

Foo-Ho Yoke Ming (Mrs)
Director (Rental Housing)
Housing & Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Occupancy rules consistent for sold and public rental flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe