• Published Date: 31 May 2021

    HDB's Reply


    HDB will consider waiving MOP and booking forfeiture on case-by-case basis
    Date: 31 May 2021


    We thank Mr Lim Chong Leong (Let those affected by BTO delay buy resale flats without penalty, May 18), Mr Ng Choon Lai (Any cancelling of BTO flat purchase must come with penalty, May 20), and Mr Bryan Lim Wei Yang (Provide more help to families affected by BTO delays, May 25) for their feedback.

    The construction industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    As a result of the circuit breaker last year, safe management measures imposed on worksites and the recent freeze in the inflow of workers from South Asia, many construction projects in both the public and private sectors have been delayed.

    We recognise the inconvenience that the delays to Built-To-Order (BTO) completion have caused to flat buyers. We are doing our best to work with contractors and agencies to keep construction work on track to meet their revised timelines, while ensuring that project quality and safety are not compromised.

    Pending the completion of their flats, flat buyers who are unable to find alternative housing arrangements with relatives or on the open market may contact HDB at www.hdb.gov.sg/efeedback for assistance. We will continue to explore ways to help affected applicants and families who are in urgent need of housing.

    Flat buyers who cancel their flat booking after signing the Agreement for Lease will forfeit 5 per cent of the flat purchase price.

    This is to ensure that buyers are serious when they purchase a flat, and do not deprive others with urgent housing needs of the opportunity to do so.

    The minimum occupation period (MOP) is a policy to reinforce the owner occupation of HDB flats. It is thus based on physical occupation of the flat; for example, it excludes periods where the whole flat may be rented out. The MOP is not based on a fixed five-year period starting from the estimated completion date (ECD), but from the point of key collection, which can be earlier or later than the ECD.

    Nonetheless, we recognise that every buyer’s situation is different, and HDB will consider appeals to waive the forfeiture or MOP on a case-by-case basis.

    Parents can register their child for priority admission into Primary 1 using the address of their new HDB flat if the delivery possession date (DPD) is within two years of entry into Primary 1.

    While the completion of BTO flats has been delayed, the DPD for BTO projects as stated in the Agreement for Lease has remained unchanged.

    Hence, enrolment to Primary 1 will not be affected.

    Norlilah Abdul Latiff
    Director, Sales
    Housing and Development Board



    Letters to The Straits Times


    Let those affected by BTO delay buy resale flats without penalty
    Date: 18 May 2021

    From: Lim Chong Leong


    Successful Build-To-Order (BTO) flat applicants face further delays in moving into their new units because of the pandemic (BTO construction delays spark big rush for HDB temporary housing, May 14).

    The completion of new flats has been delayed in about 85 per cent of current BTO projects, affecting around 43,000 households.

    This has affected many, especially newly-weds, couples intending to start families and those planning to get married.

    Temporary housing may result in additional costs and other practical problems.

    One possible solution is for buyers to purchase resale flats.

    Unfortunately, this option is not possible as they have already signed the sale and purchase agreement and paid the Housing Board a deposit for their BTO flats.

    If the HDB can allow buyers to cancel the agreement without forfeiting their deposit, this will let them opt for resale flats as an alternative.

    In view of the high demand in recent BTO exercises, there will not be a lack of new buyers for such cancelled flats.

    I hope the HDB will seriously consider this suggestion to help home buyers who need their flats urgently.



    Any cancelling of purchase must come with penalty
    Date: 20 May 2021

    From: Ng Choon Lai


    Mr Lim Chong Leong suggests that the Housing Board allow successful Build-To-Order (BTO) flat applicants who are affected by construction delays to opt for resale flats without forfeiting their deposit (Let those affected by BTO delay buy resale flats without penalty, May 18).

    Anyone who is allowed to cancel the sales agreement in this way should be considered a second-time applicant if he applies for another BTO flat in the future.

    This would make it fairer to other eligible applicants.

    Implementing Mr Lim's suggestion would also mean a surge in demand for resale flats, increasing their price and potentially putting them out of reach of buyers who are eligible to buy only resale flats.



    Provide more help to families affected by BTO delays
    Date: 25 May 2021

    From: Bryan Lim Wei Yang


    The Housing Board said last month that 85 per cent of the ongoing Build-To-Order (BTO) projects were around six to nine months behind schedule (85% of BTO projects face delays of 6 to 9 months, April 8). This was before the latest entry restrictions on South Asian workers took effect, so it is likely that the projects will be further delayed.

    These delays affect the family, education and financial planning of many Singaporeans. More help can be provided to these affected households.

    First, lower-income newly-weds could be given targeted payouts to subsidise rent. With the BTO delays, the newly-weds' plans to start a family may be disrupted. This is especially applicable to those whose parents' homes have space constraints.

    Rent may pose a financial challenge to some newly-weds. Even though the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme offers relatively cheaper rents, the rental options are limited and may still be unaffordable for some in these trying times.

    Second, families who are undergoing the Primary 1 registration process can currently register their children based on their future property address if the delivery possession date of the property is within two years of a child's entry into Primary 1.

    This two-year leeway should be updated to account for the BTO delays faced by affected families.

    Third, the minimum occupation period of BTO flats should be reduced based on the time the project is delayed.

    This ensures that the future flat supply and, therefore, prices in the resale and rental markets are not affected by this unforeseen supply shock.