SINGAPORE: With immediate effect, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has cut the flat subletting approved period for Permanent Residents (PR) from the current three years to just one year.
When the one-year period expires, the application to extend the approval will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and HDB said approval will be granted only if there are extenuating reasons.
The total period of subletting during the flat owners' entire duration of the flat ownership is capped at five years.
Singapore PR flat owners are allowed to sublet their flat only after meeting the minimum occupation period (MOP), and if they have not sublet the flat before.
HDB said the revised rule is to reinforce the policy intent of providing HDB flats as homes to the PRs, and to deter those who are buying the flats for rental yield or investment.
And while HDB allows PR owners who have met the minimum occupation period to sublet their flat, the subletting should be on a temporary basis.
If the PR families no longer need the flats for their own occupation, they should sell the flat instead of subletting them.
There is no change to the subletting rules for flat owners who are Singapore citizens.
Separately, HDB is also stepping up enforcement against unauthorised subletting.
In 2011, HDB carried out 7,000 flat inspections and took action against 56 flat owners for unauthorised subletting.
Of these, HDB has initiated compulsory acquisition action against 18 flat owners for blatantly infringing subletting rules.