Can You Own the Space in Front of Your HDB Flat?

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Can You Own the Space in Front of Your HDB Flat?
The area directly outside a HDB flat is known as a recess area. Usually four to six square metres in size, flat owners typically put their shoes, bicycles, plants, and other miscellaneous items in this area. Recess areas are public spaces. Without purchasing them for use, HDB owners may be limited in what they can do with the space. If you want to renovate the area to better suit your needs, the question on your mind would most likely be whether you can purchase it.
Under the Sale of Recess Area scheme, there are a number of rules and conditions that determine whether or not you get to own the corridor space right outside your HDB flat.

What Are the Conditions?

You are allowed to purchase the recess area outside your HDB flat if it meets certain technical requirements. These requirements relate to design, access, fire safety, and ventilation. No service ducts such as gas pipes, water meters, or electrical ducts should be in the area as well.
You cannot buy the HDB corridor area outside your flat if it is:
  • Built after 1996
  • Built under a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS)
  • Located next to a corner unit
  • Located in a point block where it is the only unit on the floor that has a recess area
  • Located such that its recess area:
  1. Gets in the way of the protruding access balcony
  2. Contains electrical risers
  3. Does not comply with the Fire Safety Code

How Much Does the Space Cost?

The purchase price of recess areas can vary according to factors such as size. Additionally, these prices are reviewed every three months by HDB.
During the purchase process, you can engage either HDB or a private solicitor to act for your purchase. Your choice will affect the fee you are required to pay. Additional fees you will need to incur include Stamp & Registration fees, conveyancing fees, and survey fees. These fees can be paid with cash or CPF.
Relocating service ducts, fittings, fixtures out of your recess area; or carrying out renovation may incur additional costs.

How Do I Purchase the Space?

You can submit an online application to HDB to purchase the recess area. Applications can be made at MyHDB page.
After submitting your application, HDB will carry out a site and technical assessment of the recess area. This will determine if the space is eligible for purchase. In some cases, you may be advised to relocate services, fittings, or fixtures if you want to continue with the purchase process. You will then proceed to make payment and sign off on legal documents confirming your purchase.
While the recess areas outside HDB flats are a public space by default, HDB grants homeowners the flexibility to own these areas subject to certain conditions. It may be tempting for most to extend their living space into the corridor area in one form or another. However, it is best to check with HDB on whether you require or are eligible to purchase it first.
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