HDB extends suspension of late payment fee, offers rent relief

Between April to August, about 2,500 households took up financial assistance measures offered by the HDB. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Suspension of late payment charges on Housing Board (HDB) mortgage arrears will be further extended to March next year, as Singaporeans continue to grapple with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Families living in public rental flats will also have their rent slashed by half for three months, from this month to December, National Development Minister Desmond Lee announced yesterday.

Late payment charges for these HDB rental households will also continue to be suspended until the end of next March.

Mr Lee said in a Facebook post yesterday that these additional measures would help HDB home owners and tenants ride through the pandemic.

"The economic situation is likely to remain difficult for some time. Because of this, some households are struggling to cope with their housing mortgage repayments," said Mr Lee, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration.

HDB first suspended late payment charges on mortgage arrears for three months in April, then extended it to Sept 30. This is the second extension.

The current late payment charge is 7.5 per cent per annum based on the outstanding instalment amount at the end of the month.

Between April and August, about 2,500 households took up financial assistance measures offered by HDB. These included deferring loan instalments and reducing the loan instalment amount.

From Monday, those on HDB loans can also extend their repayment period up to age 65 if they need long-term adjustments to their cash flow.

Mr Lee said: "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and review our measures to support households with financial difficulties."

Banks and finance companies have also been providing relief for those with difficulty making loan repayments. Data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) shows that 34,000 home owners have requested to stop paying their bank loans and interest until December. Another 2,100 have asked banks to defer their renovation and education loans.

Mr Lee said that MAS will soon announce support measures for HDB flat owners with bank loans.

Home owners facing financial difficulties are encouraged to contact their local HDB branch for help.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2020, with the headline HDB extends suspension of late payment fee, offers rent relief. Subscribe