Using a Shop’s Living Quarters

Renting Out of Living Quarters

Owners and tenants can rent out their living quarters for residential and commercial use. From 1 May 2018, the maximum number of (sub)tenants/occupiers permitted for 3-room and bigger living quarters is six (6).  The maximum number of (sub)tenants/occupiers for 1-room and 2-room living quarters is four (4).

Owners and tenants who want to rent out their living quarters need to submit an application through GoBusiness Licensing for approval before doing so. An administrative fee of $100 (excluding GST) is payable with each application.

Find out more information on renting out your living quarters.

You can also find out how to use your shop’s living quarters as a home office.



Home Office Scheme for commercial unit living quarters

Living quarters of our commercial units can be used for business registration under the Home Office Scheme. Here are the eligibility conditions and guidelines.

To find out more, you can also check out further details on the Home Office Scheme.

Eligibility criteria

You need to meet the following conditions to qualify for the Home Office Scheme.

Person conducting the business

You must be the owner, tenant, or subtenant of the HDB commercial unit. You also need to be 18 years old and above.

Registration of business

Your business must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) unless it is exempted under the Business Registration Act.

Use of living quarters as a Home Office

If you prefer, you can apply for a Licence for Home Office Scheme before registering your business with ACRA. In such cases, please select your profile as "Individual (I am an applicant not representing any company or applying on behalf of any other people)" before you complete the application. You can subsequently register you business at a later stage.

Business activities

Your business and/ or its activities must not:

  • Generate noise, smoke, odour, chemical/ liquid waste, or dust, that can become a nuisance
  • Be illegal, unlawful, or immoral (for example, gambling or pornography-related activities)
  • Introduce unnecessary human or vehicular traffic to the surroundings or neighbourhood
  • Solicit business that can cause annoyance to the residents or public (for example, distribution of brochures/ flyers or door-to-door visits/ sales)
  • Sell/ buy any physical goods in or around the living quarters
  • Display any signage, advertisements, or posters to maintain the residential ambience
  • Adversely affect the character, ambience, and environment of the residential estate

Safety requirements and other regulations

Your business must abide by these safety requirements:

  • You must take all necessary safety precautions and ensure that the business activities do not pose any danger to human lives or damage any property
  • The structural load and consumption of electricity must not exceed the normal residential load
  • Any storage and/ or use of dangerous chemicals and/ or hazardous substances is/ are strictly prohibited
  • In accordance with fire safety requirements set by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD), you must install the following in the office area:
    • A 2-kg ABC Dry Chemical Powder fire extinguisher to the office area
    • A single-station smoke detector (battery operated, no wiring needed; available at DIY shops)

Note: This FSSD safety requirement is mandatory as the papers, files, and office equipment in a home office pose a slightly higher risk than those of an ordinary dwelling, thus the need for a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in place. If you have any enquiries on the fire safety requirements, please email

  • Before commencement, your business must comply with regulations of other government authorities and obtain relevant licences/ approvals

Mode of business

The mode of business can be a sole-proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or private limited company. 

Number of employees permitted

The Home Office Scheme allows a maximum of 2 non-residents to work in the living quarters. There is no limit on the number of employees for the business/ company.

The non-residents can be partners, shareholders, directors of the business, or employees.


  1. Can I submit my Home Office application before registering my business with ACRA?

    Yes. Please select your profile as "Individual (I am an applicant not representing any company or applying on behalf of any other people)" before you complete the application.
  2. I cannot operate my business from my living quarters as it falls under the list of non-permissible businesses under the Home Office Scheme. However, does the Home Office Scheme allow me to use my living quarters as an administration office for my business and/ or as the address to register my business with ACRA?

    Yes. Even if your business is under the list of non-permissible businesses, you can still use your living quarters as an administrative office and/ or as the address for business registration with ACRA. However, the business activities carried out in the living quarters must be purely administrative, and all other business functions should be conducted elsewhere. Also, customers/ clients are strictly not allowed to visit the living quarters.
  3. Can I be exempted from the FSSD’s fire extinguisher and smoke detector requirement if I do not have any employees working in my home office?

    No. You must still abide by the safety requirement to ensure the premises is safe for occupany. The requirement is not based on the presence of employees - installing a fire extinguisher and smoke detector is a minimum safety requirement for any home office, including those under our Home Office Scheme.

    The FSSD requirements for home offices are more lenient than those for commercial premises. You can easily purchase the required fire extinguisher and smoke detector from a DIY shop. The extinguisher required for home office use is a 2-kg Dry Chemical Powder fire extinguisher. The smoke detector can be the basic single-station, self-contained type, which is easy to install, battery operated, and and does not require any added wiring.
  4. Why is there a 2-person limit to the number of non-residents (including employees, partners, and directors) engaged in the business?

    This limit is set to keep the scale of business activity small in order to minimise disturbance to neighbouring flats and not overly compromise the residential ambience. This ensures that larger businesses and companies operate from commercial premises.
  5. Why can’t I display a business signage or advertisements? These are important for my business.

    Displaying signage outside the living quarters will negatively affect the residential character of our housing estates. While we do exercise flexibility towards businesses operating from home, we are mindful of protecting the living environment of our residents. Hence, we cannot allow such displays as these are not common features in a residential area.
  6. Can I use my home office living quarters to store goods?

    No. The loading and unloading of goods are not allowed under the Home Office Scheme. Storing goods in the living quarters will also lead to additional human, vehicular, and lift traffic that impacts the residential nature of the area and inconveniences other residents.