High rentals fuel demand for illegal ‘cubicle’ units in apartments

Sunday Times journalist Calvin Yang in a cramped room that is only 4 sq m in size. Located at People's Park Complex, it is let out for short-term stays. The room, which is for two occupants, can fit only a modest clothes rack and a bunk bed. There ar
Sunday Times journalist Calvin Yang in a cramped room that is only 4 sq m in size. Located at People's Park Complex, it is let out for short-term stays. The room, which is for two occupants, can fit only a modest clothes rack and a bunk bed. There are six other box-like rooms in the same apartment, and two no-frills toilets are shared by more than a dozen peopleST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Sunday Times journalist Calvin Yang in a cramped room that is only 4 sq m in size. Located at People's Park Complex, it is let out for short-term stays. The room, which is for two occupants, can fit only a modest clothes rack and a bunk bed. There ar
Six men sleep on three bunk beds in this room. There are two other similar rooms in the unit, located above a hair salon in Aljunied. At least 15 people, all believed to be foreigners, live in the apartment. Left: A woman, believed to be a foreigner working at a nearby nightspot, returning to an apartment near Orchard Road.ST PHOTOS: CALVIN YANG
Sunday Times journalist Calvin Yang in a cramped room that is only 4 sq m in size. Located at People's Park Complex, it is let out for short-term stays. The room, which is for two occupants, can fit only a modest clothes rack and a bunk bed. There ar
A woman, believed to be a foreigner working at a nearby nightspot, returning to an apartment near Orchard Road. ST PHOTO: CALVIN YANG

High rentals fuelling demand for such illegal partitioned units

Four square metres - or just enough space to squeeze in a modest clothes rack, a creaky bunk bed with worn-out mattresses, and two unfussy occupants.

There is little room to stand and the air is heavy with the smell of damp clothes. A narrow window in the otherwise depressing cubicle home offers a glimpse of a noisy Chinatown, 20 floors down.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 11, 2019, with the headline 'Many apartments carved up and let out as cubicle homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe