Bidadari Flat Rented Out For S$4.1K A Month Before MOP Up
New homeowners who wish to lease out their HDB flats would be aware that a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) applies before they can do so.
However, what may be less well-known is that the Housing Development Board (HDB) grants exceptions in some special circumstances.
This was the case for a two-year-old flat that was recently put up for rent at S$4,100 a month.
Bidadari flat rented out for S$4.1k after only 2 years
A listing on 99.co shows that a three-room flat in Alkaff Oasis, an HDB flat at 108A Bidadari Park Drive, is up for rent at a whopping S$4,100 a month.
This is S$1,700 more than the median rent for a similar flat in Toa Payoh in the fourth quarter of 2022.
More interestingly, the development is only two years old. This means that its five-year MOP is not up yet.
In response to MS News‘ queries, HDB emphasised that flats are meant for owner-occupation.
As such, owners have to physically occupy their flats during the MOP. They can only sell or rent out the whole unit after the MOP is over.
Owners’ appeal approved as they will be overseas
So why were the homeowners allowed to rent out their two-year-old Bidadari flat?
According to HDB, the owners were posted overseas for a period, so they are unable to stay in the unit.
HDB told MS News that exceptions can be granted on a case-by-case basis if owners submit an appeal in light of their “unforeseen and genuine circumstances”.
These include being overseas for work or studies, medical reasons, and financial hardship.
However, HDB noted in their statement that there is a time limit of a year or two for approvals.
Flat owners will also have to serve out the full MOP when they resume occupation of the flat.
In other words, the period when the owner rents out the flat is not counted in their MOP.
Additionally, out of the 117,587 applications for renting out whole flats that were approved from 2020 to 2022, less than 1.5% were flats that were allowed to be rented out during the MOP due to extenuating circumstances.
Abide by MOP rules
In their statement, HDB stressed that they take a serious view of the violation of MOP rules.
They added that they “will not hesitate to carry out enforcement actions against those who have flouted the rules.”
Between 2020 and 2022, the Board took action against 368 homeowners who rented out their flats without seeking approval.
Depending on the severity and circumstances of the breach, HDB may compulsorily acquire the flat, impose a financial penalty of up to S$50,000, or issue a written warning.
HDB also underlined that owners and tenants can make informed decisions by checking the median rent of various locations with rental approvals on their rental statistics page.
“We will continue to monitor the housing and rental market conditions closely and ensure our housing policies remain relevant in meeting the housing needs of Singaporeans,” they concluded.
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