Safeguarding rental flats as the final safety net for the truly needy
 
Date issued : 06 Feb 2009


           HDB will revise the eligibility criteria for rental flats to safeguard rental flats for the deserving, so that they are not crowded out by the less needy. Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan announced this in Parliament today as part of a package of measures to enhance the rental housing safety net to help Singaporeans weather the economic downturn. He explained that, “It is necessary to safeguard rental flats as the final safety net for the truly needy even as we accelerate the building of more rental flats. This will ensure that the heavy subsidies are directed at the truly needy and they get help as quickly as possible.”


Revised Eligibility Criteria

2         The revised rental eligibility criteria will incorporate a holistic assessment of the rental applicant's housing need, based on the following principles:
    a       Those who can afford their own housing should not compete with the needy for a rental flat. The existing income ceiling of $1,500 per month will be retained. In addition, for ex-HDB lessees who have enjoyed ahousing subsidy, HDB will take into account their assets, including accumulated savings and proceeds from the last flat sale. Those who previously own private property will not qualify for a rental flat.

    b       The family should be the first line of support for those in need. If the applicant has children who own private property(ies) or HDB flat(s) with room(s) that may accommodate him/her, he/she should not qualify for a rental flat.
3         As rental flats are heavily subsidised, HDB will continue to permanently debar those who have enjoyed 2 housing subsidies. The 30-month debarment for those who have just sold their flats will also be retained (See summary in Annex 1).

4         The changes will be implemented with immediate effect.


Help for Existing Rental Tenants

5          To provide more help for existing rental tenants in this current economic downturn, HDB will keep rents low through the following:
    a     Additional Rent Rebates. An additional month of rent rebates will be given to rental households on top of their current rent rebates under the GST Offset Package;

    b     Maintain 2005 Market Rate. For tenants paying rents which are pegged at a percentage of the market rents, HDB will continue to maintain the market rent peg at the 2005 level; and

    c     Suspension of Rent Alignment. HDB will freeze the alignment of rents to income for 1 year. The alignment was announced in Nov 2006. Tenants earning more than $800 per month were earlier informed that their rents would be increased over two tenancy renewals, or four years (See Annex 2) .

Increasing Supply of Rental Flats

6         HDB is also stepping up its building/conversion programme for rental flats. Since 2007, about 930 units of rental flats have become available through conversion. In 2009, another 1,450 units will become available through building/conversion. By 2012, HDB targets to increase the total rental stock from 42,000 currently to 50,000 units.


Background

7         About 300 new applicants join the rental queue each month. This is more than double the number of rental flats being returned to HDB. There is strong demand for rental flats even from those who have alternative housing options, ie, they either have the financial means to buy a flat or their families can accommodate them. This is because HDB’s rental flats are very heavily subsidized with rents as low as $30 per month.


Enquiries

8         For enquiries on the revised eligibility criteria for the Public Rental Scheme, the public can contact the Rental Enquiry Eligibility Line at: 1800-555 6370.




ANNEX 1


Current eligibility criteria:

  • Must be a Singapore citizen.
  • At least 21 years old.
  • Has a proper family nucleus with at lease one Singapore citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.
  • All proposed occupiers must not own or have sold an HDB flat or private property within 30 months immediately prior to the rental application.
  • Must not have consumed two housing subsidies.
  • Total household income ceiling is $1,500 per month.


Additional criteria with effect from 6 Feb 2009:

  • For those who have previously taken a housing subsidy, HDB will consider both their income and their assets to determine their need for rental flats. Those with significant savings (eg. CPF) or with significant sales proceeds will be excluded from rental flats.
  • Must not have previously owned private property.
  • Must not have a child who own private property or have spare room in his HDB flat.

ANNEX 2

Household Income
1st Renewal
(Nov 2006)
2nd Renewal - to be deferred
Tenants who entered before Oct 03
<=$800
No change
(1st-tier rent)
$801 - $1,500
No change
(1st-tier rent)
30% MR
$1,501 - $2,000
30% MR
50% MR
Above $2,000
30% MR
70% MR
Tenants who entered after Sep 03
<=$800
No change
(1st-tier rent)
$801 - $1,500
No change
(2nd-tier rent i.e. 30% MR)
$1,501 - $2,000
50% MR
50% MR
Above $2,000
50% MR
70% MR