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    HDB to Lower Occupancy Cap on Its Properties From 1 May 2019

    HDB has announced that it plans to lower the occupancy cap on its properties from nine to six starting 1 May this year to improve living conditions.

    BankBazaar Singapore – February 1, 2018

    Singapore: In a move aimed at improving the living conditions in public-housing properties, HDB has decided to reduce the occupancy cap for its flats and commercial properties to six from nine.

    The new rule, which will come into effect from 1 May 2018, will affect owners of 4-room and larger flats mainly. The occupancy cap for 3-room and smaller public flats will be kept unchanged at six and four respectively.

    Going forward, all HDB accommodation owners will have to mandatorily seek the board’s approval before renting out their flats or bedrooms to people not from the same family unit. An HDB press release stated that the new move will replicate Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) policy of allowing up to six occupants in a private residential housing estate being rented out.

    The board said that too many occupants in properties often made life difficult. A lower cap will make the conditions more conducive to living. The board further added that the revision will apply to every single living quarter of a property that is being rented out.

    Occupancy Cap Changes in Detail

    The specific revisions applicable on HDB flats as whole and separate living quarters are explained in the following table:

    Type of Flat in Terms of Number of Rooms Occupancy Cap
    Flat as a Whole Bedrooms Commercial Property Living Quarters
    Current Revised Current Revised Current Revised
    1-room and 2-room 4 Unchanged NA NA 4 Unchanged
    3-room 6 Unchanged 6 Unchanged 8 6
    4-room 9 6 9 6 8 6

    It needs to be noted in this context that owners of 1-room and 2-room HDB flats aren’t permitted to rent out their bedrooms.

    Changes Introduced to Approval Policies

    The housing board has added that starting 1 May 2018, all owners and tenants of HDB residential and commercial housing properties will have to seek prior approvals before renting out their bedrooms and living quarters. Current rules exempt commercial property owners and tenants from seeking approvals before the start of tenancy.

    For cases approved before 1 May 2018, the revision will become applicable at the time of renewal or when the number of occupants changes. However, if the number of occupants allowed under the new rules have already been reached in such cases, new occupants can’t be taken on board.

    This measure is expected to ensure that the eligibility criteria are properly enforced before commencement of tenancy. The board has also categorically warned that enforcement actions will be initiated against those found guilty of not following the rules.

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