The Housing Board (HDB) has moved to curb speculation in its commercial and industrial properties, in a bid to prevent the costs from being passed on to customers. Starting this Wednesday, all new tenants will not be able to assign their premises. This is a switch up from current practices, where an outgoing tenant can transfer the property to an incoming tenant, for a fee or cash premium that is negotiated between the two.
Business owners 'assign' their properties to others typically because they are either not doing well and need to recoup losses, or a place has become so popular that a profit could be made from transferring.
According to HDB, the average assignment fee and rental has seen an upward trend. "High assignment fees and tendered rents contribute to higher operating costs, which may be passed on to residents and consumers. Assignment may also encourage unhealthy speculation," it said in a statement on Monday. To help existing tenants adjust however, HDB said it will allow these businesses to transfer their property once within a three year window which ends on Oct 15 in 2016.
Meanwhile, HDB also announced the construction of four new neighbourhood centres in Punggol, Hougang and Sembawang. This is ensure there is enough amenities to handle the ramp up in public housing in these areas. More details of these centres will be announced at a later date, HDB said.