Renting is not an easy thing to do in Singapore, as there are quite a lot of regulations to navigate – not to mention high prices. But whether you are renting from the open market, or directly from HDB, we will cover it as thoroughly as we can in this article.
Modern HDB flats in Singapore
Public Rental Scheme
You can rent a flat directly from HDB, under their Public Rental Scheme. The supply of HDB rental flats under this scheme is limited and are subject to eligibility criteria before one can apply for them. These HDB rental flats are heavily subsidised, and meant for Singaporeans who have no other housing options.
If you are planning on getting an HDB rental flat under HDB’s Public Rental scheme, here are the eligibility criteria that need to be met first.
*If your children are under the care of control of your ex-spouse, and below age 21, you must obtain a written agreement from your ex-spouse before you can list your children in the flat application.
Joint Singles Scheme
You need to be at least 21 years old when you make an application.
Your total household income cannot exceed $1,500 a month.
Existing HDB tenants/essential occupiers
You and your listed occupiers cannot already be tenants, or essential occupants of other HDB flats.
3rd Property ownership
Both you and your listed occupiers cannot own a property at the time of application. These include:
- HDB flat or Design, Build & Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat
- Local or overseas private property (house, building, or land)
- Executive Condominium (EC)
HDB will conduct assessments on applicants. If you are found to actually be able to afford to purchase your own flat, or have other housing options, you can be barred from applying under the scheme. This also extends to you being listed as an occupant.
If you have children who can house you in their own homes, or are financially able to provide other housing options for you, you will not be eligible for the scheme as well.
The PPHS helps in providing temporary housing for families waiting for their new home
Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS)
The PPHS helps in temporarily housing families that are awaiting completion of their new homes. You can get an HDB rental flat under this scheme if you have booked an uncompleted flat under one of HDB’s sales exercises, and are:
- A married couple or applying under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
- A divorced or widowed parent with children
In addition, the following criteria must also be met:
- You must be a Singapore Citizen with another Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident in your household
- You and the occupiers of the PPHS flat must not own an existing HDB flat
- If you co-own an HDB flat with your parents and/or siblings, you can apply for PPHS and then surrender ownership of the flat within 6 months of moving into your PPHS flat.
- You and the other applicants for the PPHS flat must be listed in the sales application
- If you are sharing the PPHS flat with another eligible household, the maximum number of occupants must not exceed the cap. The maximum occupants allowed is 6 for 3-room and 4-room flats.
- Additional occupiers from marriages or new births are allowed
Renting from the open market
The other alternative is renting from the open market. This will be the option expats and foreigners will take, since renting from directly from HDB is only applicable for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. As with renting a flat directly from HDB, there are eligibility criteria for renting from the open market.
You must be any of the following to rent a flat or bedroom:
- Singapore Citizen
- Singapore Permanent Resident
If you are a non-citizen, you must have one of the following:
- Employment Pass
- S Pass
- Work Permit
- Student Pass
- Dependent Pass
- Long-Term Social Visit Pass
The pass must be valid for at least six months from the date of the rent application.
In addition, tourists cannot rent any HDB flat or bedroom. This is why listing your flat on Airbnb could get you in trouble.
Tenancy and property ownership status
You cannot currently own an HDB flat, or already be renting one. Exceptions are made if you are:
- Divorced/ legally separated. In this case, only 1 party can rent an HDB flat from another flat owner
- An owner who is eligible to rent out your whole flat. However, you must rent out your own flat within a month of renting a flat from someone else.
You also cannot be the owner of an Executive Condominium where the five-year minimum occupation period has not been met.
Ensure that the person you are renting from is the rightful flat owner
Now that you know what the eligibility conditions are, we have some guidelines and tips on how to proceed about renting a flat from the open market.
Visit the flat that you are interested in renting and make sure that the person you are dealing with is the rightful owner, and has HDB’s approval to rent out the flat or bedroom.
You should visit the flat you intend to rent and ensure that the person you are dealing with is the rightful owner of the flat. You can do so by requesting for documentary proof of the flat’s ownership.
In addition, when the flat owner applies for approval to rent out their flat or bedroom, the particulars of the tenants must also be provided. You can use HDB’s e-Service to check if you have been included as an authorised tenant.
If you need more in-depth information, read our guide for tenants and landlords. if you happen to be an expat looking to rent, why not check out our guide on whether an HDB or condo is a better choice for you.