Lower rents for those in temporary flats scheme

Mr Steve Tan and his wife Michelle Lee, playing with their son, Ryan Tan, in their PPHS rental flat at Commanwealth on March 6, 2017.
Mr Steve Tan and his wife Michelle Lee, playing with their son, Ryan Tan, in their PPHS rental flat at Commanwealth on March 6, 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Monthly rents for flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) will be slashed by as much as $400 from April 1.

The change means young couples awaiting the completion of their first Housing Board flats can rent units at rates that are less than half of those offered by private landlords.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced the change during the debate on his ministry's budget yesterday.

"We know that every dollar counts for a young family just starting out. That is why HDB rents out PPHS flats at subsidised rates," said Mr Wong.

The rates depend on flat type and location. The PPHS was launched in January 2013 and now has 1,300 three- and four-room flats in Bedok South, Commonwealth, Jurong, Tiong Bahru, Eunos, Boon Lay and Bukit Merah.

About 2,000 families have benefited from the PPHS to date and more than 400 babies have been born to families living in the flats. There are currently 780 households enrolled in the scheme.

The lower rents apply both to new and existing tenants.

Mr Dani Dawood, 44, and his family of four used to rent a studio apartment in Telok Blangah for $1,400 per month and are paying $1,100 now for the three-room Commonwealth Drive unit while they wait for their flat in Yishun to be built.

Said Mr Dani, a private tutor: "Unlike my previous landlord who could raise the rent at any time, the Government is in fact lowering it further, which is great."

Engineering manager Steve Tan, 31, said this would give young couples an alternative besides living with their parents after marriage.

Said Mr Tan, who welcomed his eight-month-old son while living in a PPHS flat: "Even though the rent is quite substantial, we are willing to pay for our own private space. The new rates make it a lot better."

Ng Jun Sen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Lower rents for those in temporary flats scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe