Seniors looking to right-size to smaller flats have several options

We thank Mr Bernard C G Law for his letter (Improve ways for older folk to move into smaller flats; June 30).

Under the two-room Flexi Scheme, seniors aged 55 and above can choose a lease period of between 15 and 45 years, in five-year increments, as long as the lease can cover them and their spouse up to the age of at least 95 years.

This requirement offers seniors greater assurance that the flat can last them for the rest of their life, and minimise any concerns that they may outlive their flat leases.

As these flats are meant for our seniors to age in place, they are not eligible for resale.

However, should seniors decide to take up alternative housing arrangements and no longer need their short-lease two-room Flexi flat, they can return it to the Housing Board and receive a refund of the value of the remaining lease.

Seniors who wish to apply for a two-room Flexi flat can do so through the quarterly Build-To-Order sales launches, or through the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises.

Since August last year, they have also been able to do so through the Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercises.

The ROF exercise pools together all flats unsold from previous SBF exercises, so applicants can have quicker access to a flat.

Together, the SBF and ROF exercises take place about four times a year, or once every three months, so applicants who are unsuccessful in one exercise can submit their application in another exercise in the next quarter.

Details of upcoming sales launches are available on the HDB InfoWeb.

Besides buying a two-room Flexi flat, seniors who wish to right-size to a smaller flat could also consider buying a three-room or smaller flat from HDB or the resale market, with the option of applying for a Silver Housing Bonus of up to $20,000. Those buying an HDB resale flat to live near their children can also apply for the Proximity Housing Grant of $20,000.

There are a range of monetisation options for seniors to unlock the value of their flats. They can choose an option that best meets their individual needs, preferences and family circumstances.

To support our seniors in their decision-making process, we also offer one-to-one consultations at the HDB Hub and our branches.

Lily Chan-Wong (Mrs)

Director (Policy & Property)

Housing & Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2018, with the headline 'Seniors looking to right-size to smaller flats have several options'. Print Edition | Subscribe