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HDB rental flats allocation to former flat owners determined by several factors, Minister Wong answers Sylvia Lim




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In response to a parliamentary question of how many HDB rental flats are allocated to former flat owners, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that several factors will be taken into account in the allocation of HDB rental flats. The Minister was responding to the question of Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim’s question. Ms Lim has asked:

“How many and what proportion of HDB rental flats under the Public Rental Scheme are currently allocated to Singaporeans who have owned HDB flats previously; and how does prior home ownership affect the priority of allocation of HDB rental flats compared with applicants who have not previously owned HDB flats.”

Mr Wong in replying to her question, said:

“About 24,000, or close to half of all public rental households, have previously owned HDB flats. Entry into public rental is on a needs-basis. Rental applicants are assessed based on factors such as household income, whether they have family support, and their ability to afford other housing options. For applicants who have previously owned a property, the proceeds from the sale of their last property will be taken into account when assessing their housing budget.”

HDB rental flats are heavily subsidised to cater to Singapore Citizen (SC) households who have no other housing options. As the number of rental flats under the Public Rental Scheme is limited, applicants must fulfil certain eligibility criteria to apply for a rental flat.

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Both Singles and families can apply for HDB rental flats. Under the Family Scheme, you must be a SC, you must include at least another SC or a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) in your basic family nucleus, and your family nucleus must comprise any of the following:

  • You and your spouse,
  • If single, you and your parents,
  • If widowed/ divorced, you and your children under your legal custody (care and control),
  • Fiancé and fiancée, and
  • If orphaned, you and your siblings (at least 1 parent was an SC or SPR)
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If the care and control of your children under the age of 21 is shared with your ex-spouse, you must obtain his/her written agreement before you can list your children in a flat application.

Under the Joint-Singles Scheme, you and your listed occupier must be SCs, both of you must be single. Any of the following are considered as singles:

  • Unmarried and at least 35 years old
  • Divorced or legally separated from spouse, with legal documents, and at least 35 years old
  • Widowed or orphaned (at least 1 parent was an SC or SPR)

There are also age and income-ceiling requirements for all applicants of HDB rental flats. All applicants must be at least 21 years old at the time of application, and their total household gross income must not exceed $1,500 per month. Besides the age and income-ceiling requirement, applicants and their listed occupiers cannot be existing tenants or essential occupiers of HDB flats.

The Scheme also prohibits property owners from applying for HDB rental flats.  Anyone who owns or have an estate or interest in a property at the point of application (this includes HDB flat or Design, Build & Sell Scheme flat, local or overseas private property (house, building, or land), residential or otherwise, and Executive Condominium) will not be eligible to apply for HDB rental flats.

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In addition, you may be barred from applying for HDB rental flats because of your past property ownership.

HDB rental flats

If you are assessed to be able to afford a flat or have other housing options, or if you have previously owned a property, HDB will take into account the proceeds from the sale of your last property (HDB or private, locally or overseas, residential or otherwise) in assessing your housing budget.

Also an individual who has been barred under any rule, regulation, or policy by the government or HDB will not be eligible to apply for a rental flat under the Public Rental Scheme, or be listed as an occupier in the application. You and your listed occupiers will not be eligible to rent an HDB flat if any of your children are able to house you in their own homes, or are financially able to provide other housing options for you. HDB will carry out an assessment to determine if you or any of the listed occupiers have other housing options or family support.

The following table provides an overview of the types of flats that you are eligible to rent under the Public Rental Scheme, subject to availability.
Household Size & Income
Flat Types
Family Scheme
No household income (regardless of the number of persons in the household)
2-person household with earned income with less than or equal to $1,500
Families with earned income* and  comprising 3 or more individuals
Joint Singles Scheme

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