Saturday, July 14, 2012

The PR HDB Owner and Landlord: Boooooo!!!!!!

BTW in case you were distracted by more entertaining but less widespread impact personal stories like AGC vs Alex Au or save the Malaysian drug donkeys, HDB came up with a small reassuring gesture mid-week, a token of the PAP's understanding and concern for us citizens. Sarcasm here in case you think I was sincere.

There are now more restrictions on PR renting out flats. They can rent out a max 5 years, only after the PR owners reach MOP, and if they have not sublet the flat before. The approval to rent out is for 1 year only compared to previously, 3 years.

About to clap your hands and think HDB is very understanding? Wait! Stop! Think! HDB did something right, of course, but it is not enough here. Not because we are spiteful whiners about anything the government and its agencies do. It is because with national day staring right at us in the face, and when there is an identity crisis over why our national anthem is in the national language, Malay, we must be reminded that foreigners are still getting a free lunch at our expense.

PRs are here to work supposedly in industries we don't want to work in or don't have enough locals to work in. Fine, I don't bitch about that. Since they are here to work, they need somewhere to stay. However, why are they allowed to sublet their HDB flats and get rental yield as moonlight income, so to speak? And we go even a step further. Why are they allowed to buy HDB flats at all as HDB, even resale, should be for citizens? I spoke to PRs before now and then at social functions and one reason why they got PR, which they admitted to me while we were lining up to get satay bee hoon at the buffet table, is so that they can buy HDB flats and then cash out the property when they leave! WTF

HDB flats are the spartan means for Singaporeans to be rooted here since the 1960s. Ownership of their own property gave Singaporeans a stake in Singapore. Furthermore, HDB was supposed to be "subsidised" housing for locals, a cheaper alternative to private housing.

So why are foreigners allowed to buy HDB homes? HDB flats are the cash cows of Singaporeans only, not the engineer from India, the researcher from China or even the businessman from Malaysia. These PRs are not citizens. Their Blue IC and when they leave Singapore for home or another stepping stone as a global citizen, they would sell their HDB flat as a profit. Does that sound right? No it doesn't. Just like it doesn't sound right that PRs can even sublet their flats.

Stricter rules for PRs subletting flats

SINGAPORE - Singapore permanent residents (PRs) who want to rent out their public flats will now face stricter subletting rules, such as a shorter rental period of one year.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced several revisions yesterday, which take immediate effect, to "reinforce the policy intent of providing HDB flats as homes to the SPRs and to deter those who are buying the flats for rental yield or investment purposes".

Singapore citizen homeowners will not be affected by the changes.

Previously, all flat owners - both Singaporeans and PRs - who meet the minimum occupation period could apply to rent out their flats for a period of three years. They could then ask for an extension, with no cap on the number of renewals, or the total period of subletting.

Under the new rules, when the new one-year rental period expires for PRs, any extension will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and approval will be granted only if there are extenuating reasons, said the HDB.

In addition, PRs can now only rent out their flats for a total period not exceeding five years.

For PR homeowners already renting out their flats, the HDB said they would be allowed to see out the three-year agreement, after which they would be subject to the new rules.

Said the HDB: "If the SPR families no longer need the flats for their own occupation, they should sell the flat instead of subletting them."

As of April, 49,190 flats are owned by Singapore PRs. Of this number, 2,142 owners currently sublet their flats, making up just 5 per cent of the total approved sublet cases.

However, property firm ERA said its figures showed that more PRs are renting out their HDB flats, and this might have prompted the revision of the rules.

ERA Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim said the new rules are "just to put a check on the potential numbers of PR households that would actually consider renting out their flats".

Another market watcher, Dennis Wee Group Senior Manager of Research and Consultancy Lee Sze Teck, felt the changes better fit the housing needs of PRs.

"PRs may only be here for work-related purposes … one year is good enough for them."

Chairperson of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development Lee Bee Wah supported the changes, saying that PRs should not be "entitled to the same privileges or benefits that Singapore-born citizens enjoy".

She added: "This will also resolve some of the concerns residents have pertaining to an influx of strangers and foreigners in their neighbourhoods as a result of their neighbours subletting their flats freely."

The changes come two days after the Manpower Ministry tightened the criteria for work pass holders to sponsor dependents, as part of plans to moderate the growth of Singapore's non-resident population.

As for the impact on the rental market, PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail said that PRs held too small a share of the HDB sublet pie for the move to have a significant impact on rental supply and prices. JOANNE CHAN


  1. Not all PRs are bankers and PMETs. Some are in the social services sector (e.g. nurses) that don't earn that much and have max diploma qualifications. They need homes to stay in too.

  2. Say only. Who catch who enforce??!!

    Wait for complain? Catch 1 slip 999!!

  3. The loophole can be easily closed by requiring PRs to sell back to the HDB at the purchase price should they decide to leave.

  4. Anonymous 1:46 pm - I welcome PRs in certain industries. Nurses especially if they part time freelance and wear their nurse uniforms for those with such fetish. However, they can rent private or they buy private. HDB is for citizens.

    Anonymous 8:54 pm - All do their share and snitch, report to HDB if they think the PR neighbour is illegal subletting. Actually even if not PR but Singaporean who illegal sublet... LOL

    Anonymous 10:56 pm - Hmmm not really then HDB would pick up the bill by buying back from these PR and then resell back the resale flats to Singaporeans (probably at a profit)?