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    Jan 17, 2014

    Cap on non-citizens renting flats

    FROM Thursday, foreigners and permanent residents will not be able to rent more than 8 per cent of flats in each Housing Board (HDB) neighbourhood, and no more than 11 per cent of units in each HDB block.

    The caps - the first of their kind - are "to prevent the formation of foreigner enclaves in HDB estates, and maintain the Singaporean character of our HDB heartland", the Housing Board said in a statement.

    Malaysians are exempt as they "can better integrate...due to their cultural and historical similarities with Singaporeans".

    Existing tenants will not be affected immediately, as flat owners subletting their flats with HDB approval can continue to do so for the remaining period that was previously approved.

    The quota applies only to the subletting of whole flats and not rooms. This is to reduce the impact on those who rely on subletting for income, "especially the elderly and low-income households", added HDB.

    The introduction of a quota on subletting to foreigners was signalled last month by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

    The idea had earlier been raised in the 2013 Budget debate by West Coast GRC MP Foo Mee Har, who suggested a 10 per cent cap for each block.

    In a blog post last month, Mr Khaw noted that less than 4 per cent of all HDB flats are currently sublet to foreigners.

    But the proportion could rise as high as 9 per cent in some neighbourhoods or even 18 per cent in some blocks, he added.

    To let people check whether a unit can be sublet to foreigners, a new e-Service has been made available on the HDB's website.

    The information will be updated on the first day of each month and will be valid for the whole month.

    Flat owners can use the service to check whether they are allowed to sublet to non-citizens or only to Singaporeans and Malaysians.

    The HDB also reminded flat owners that unauthorised subletting is "a serious infringement of the lease". Errant flat owners can face a fine or compulsory acquisition of their flat.


    For enquiries, call HDB on 1800-555-6370 from Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 5pm.