BTO Flats Must Be Owner-Occupied For 5 Years Or Returned To HDB: Desmond Lee

BTO Flats Must Be Owner-Occupied For 5-Year Minimum Occupation Period, Says Minister Desmond Lee

Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are meant to be affordable and accessible public housing for all Singaporeans.

Thus, people aren’t supposed to be buying them with the intention of reselling them for profit.

To that end, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has confirmed that BTO flats must be occupied by their owners for at least five years.

Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

If this can’t be fulfilled, the flat must be returned to the HDB.

Desmond Lee asked pertinent question on BTO flats

In a Facebook post on Monday (19 Dec), Mr Lee said somebody had asked him a very pertinent question.

Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

He was asked whether people who buy a BTO flat can choose not to live in it at all for five years — i.e. the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of the flat.

After this time, they could then sell it on the resale market, having the advantage of touting it as “almost brand new” since nobody has lived in it.

BTO flat must be owner-occupied for full MOP: Lee

In short, the answer is no, the minister said.

Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

A BTO flat must be owner-occupied for the full MOP of five years, he added.

If the owner or owners are unable to live there for the entire MOP, “the flat needs to be returned to HDB”, he noted, adding,

HDB will then put up as a balance flat for other home buyers to apply for.

Renting out entire flat not allowed during MOP period

For the uninitiated, Singaporeans who buy a flat from the HDB must fulfil an MOP of five years before they’re allowed to sell their flat, according to the HDB website.

This is calculated from the date the keys to the flat are collected, excluding any period where the owner doesn’t occupy the flat.

That means during the MOP period, owners must physically occupy their flats and even renting out the entire flat isn’t allowed.

Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

Even those who bought a resale flat from the open market, or a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat from a property developer, must fulfil the MOP.

Flats bought under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) scheme have an MOP of 10 years.

HDB will investigate any breach of rules

If owners don’t live in the BTO flat during the MOP, it may be a breach of HDB rules, Mr Lee said.

HDB will thus “investigate accordingly”.

He also told the public that they may highlight any suspected misuse of flats to HDB by calling their toll-free hotline at 1800-555-6370.

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Featured image adapted from Desmond Lee on Facebook and Facebook.

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