A Flat Owner’s Guide to HDB’s MOP

all you need to know about hdb mop

There are many reasons why you may want to sell your HDB flat. Perhaps you’ve found a nicer place to live, and it’s also closer to your elderly parents. Maybe you’re in urgent need of cash, and your only recourse is putting your home for sale. But before you start calling up property agents and putting out classified ads, have you checked if you’ve met HDB’s Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP)?

 

What is the MOP in HDB properties?

When you buy an HDB flat from HDB, developer or the open market, you need to adhere to HDB MOP.

The HDB MOP is the period of time (usually five years) that you’re physically required to live in your flat before you can sell/rent it out, or buy another private property.

Note that the HDB MOP starts from the day you collect your keys, and doesn't include any period when you're not residing in the flat. For example, if you've lived in your flat for four years, but spend a year working overseas. When you return, you need to live in your flat for another year before you can rent or sell your flat or buy another private property. 

The HDB MOP helps to prevent homeowners from flipping their newly-purchased flat for a profit immediately. 

The duration of the MOP depends on how you purchased your flat, the flat type, and the date you applied for the flat. 

Flat typeMOP 
Flats bought from HDB (e.g. Build-to-Order (BTO) flats), executive condominiums (ECs))5
Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat5
Resale HDB flat bought with CPF Housing Grants5
Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) flats5 years from the effective date of possession of the replacement flat, or 7 years from the date of selection of the replacement flat
Flats bought under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme20 years

 

What you can’t do during the MOP

As mentioned earlier, you’re not allowed to list your flat on the open market for sale during your HDB MOP. 

It’s not limited to selling your flat, either. During the MOP timeframe, you can’t rent out your whole flat or purchase any form of private property. 

However, as long as you live in your flat and occupy at least one bedroom, you can rent out any of the extra rooms. You’ll need to make sure each rental is a period of at least 6 months, otherwise you run the risk of having your flat confiscated by HDB.

Should you choose to rent out your spare rooms, the standard rental and tenancy rules apply. You also can’t lock up a bedroom and pretend you live there while renting out the whole flat. This is illegal, and the consequences aren’t worth the income.

 

Why is HDB’s MOP important?

In Singapore, the primary role of an HDB flat is to provide housing, not serve as an investment. The MOP seeks to prevent people from buying resale flats and reselling them for higher prices immediately. The MOP framework therefore prevents property investors from driving up the prices of public housing.

MOP prevents property investors from driving up the prices of public housing - PropertyGuru Singapore

The only exception to this rule are one-room resale flats that are purchased without any grants - these flats can be bought and resold without having to fulfil any MOP.

 

Can I sell my HDB before the MOP is over?

You can sell your flat back to HDB before the MOP is up if you meet certain special conditions, although whether or not you will be successful depends on your specific case. 

The conditions are as follows:

  • Bankruptcy: If you can avoid bankruptcy by selling your flat and downgrading to a cheaper one, HDB might allow you to do so.
  • Divorce: This tends to form the majority of the reasons for needing to sell the flat before the MOP. Both you and your spouse will be allowed to sell the house and then divide the proceeds.
  • Inability to pay the home loan: In cases where the sole breadwinner of the family is unable to earn money due to death or disability, HDB may sometimes allow families to sell their flats prematurely. 
  • Terminal illness: These are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Loss/ renouncement of citizenship: If you’re planning to move abroad permanently, HDB may give you permission to sell your house early. You’ll also be able to get your CPF money back.

Note that for bankruptcy and/or divorce cases, you’ll need to meet a few more requirements before you are allowed to sell your HDB flat before the MOP is up:

Bankruptcy

If none of the HDB flat owners are Singapore citizens, they are required to obtain the consent of the Official Assignee before they can sell the flat. If any of the flat owners are Singapore Citizens, the consent of the Official Assignee is not required.

Divorce

If you go through a divorce after meeting the MOP, you'll need to produce the following documents:

  • Writ for Judicial Separation; or 
  • Interim Judgment and Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final; or 
  • Divorce Certificate (for Muslims); and
  • Order of Court (if any)

You can get more information here on how to retain your flat following a divorce.

If it’s your first time selling your HDB flat, be sure to read our guide to selling your home.

Selling

If it’s your first time selling your HDB flat, be sure to read our guide to selling your home.

 

How can I check my HDB MOP?

Don't know how long you'll need to wait before you can sell your flat or buy a new private property? Login to your MyHDB page with your SingPass. Under My Flat, head to Purchased Flat > Flat Details > Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

 

I’ve met my MOP, and I want to sell my flat. Is there anything else I need to adhere to?

So, you’ve fulfilled the MOP and now you want to sell your flat. Before you can sell your flat, you also need to check if you meet the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) Quota.

You'll also need to adhere to the EIP quota

The EIP quota seeks to maintain a balanced mix of ethnic groups in all HDB estates. This policy was implemented on 1 March 1989, as a means to ‘promote racial integration and harmony in Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates.’ 

The then Minister for National Development, S. Dhanabalan first highlighted the emergence of ethnic enclaves in HDB estates in a speech directed at community leaders on 6 January 1989. He cited examples of neighbourhoods within estates like Bedok and Tampines where Malay households made up more than 30 percent of the estate population, and Hougang where more than 90 percent of the households are Chinese. 

As a way to address the growing issue of communal clustering, the government would adopt policies to maintain the ethnic balance, and also serve as a means to foster social and racial cohesion.

...and the SPR quota

The SPR (Singapore Permanent Resident) quota ensures SPR families can integrate well into the local community. 

If selling your HDB flat causes the block/neighbourhood’s EIP and/or SPR quota to exceed, you will not be able to sell your HDB flat. Malaysians do not need to adhere to the SPR quota, since they have close cultural similarities with Singaporeans. 

There is also no restriction on the sale/purchase of an HDB flat if both you and the buyer are of the same ethnic group and/or citizen type. 

After you have registered your Intent to Sell, you can check the EIP/SPR quota of your flat on HDB’s Resale Portal. 

 

Are you thinking of selling your flat? You can consider looking for a property agent on our Agent Portal.

Agent Directory

Are you thinking of selling your flat? You can consider looking for a property agent on our Agent Portal.

Want to see what HDB resale flats are out there in the market? Check out our latest listings here.

Find Property

Want to see what HDB resale flats are out there in the market? Check out our latest listings here.

Click HERE to get more interesting guides like this, or check out PropertyGuru.

Property Guides

Click HERE to get more interesting guides like this, or check out PropertyGuru.

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