PropertyGuru Editorial Team
As a proud owner of a flat, you want to know what you can and cannot do in your home. Well, HDB has set-up a number of guidelines that flat owners should follow with regards to the use and ownership of their flat. They include the following.

Subletting your flat / room

Renting your home out is a great way to make some extra income. However flat owners have some rules to follow in this case, such as:
  • Having occupied your non-subsidised flat for at least three years.
  • Having occupied your subsidised flat for at least five years.
If you do not meet this Minimum Occupation Period, don’t worry because you can still sublet your flat if:
  • You are living in quarters provided by your employer.
  • You are going overseas to work or study.
  • You are living in commercial properties.
  • You are the only occupier of the flat and you need assistance from relatives because you are ill.
  • You as the sole occupier are hospitalised for more than six months.
  • The flat owners have passed away and left behind an orphaned minor child. The guardian or public trustee of the child may sublet the whole flat.
If you decide to go ahead and sublet your flat, take note that there are certain eligibility conditions that your tenants have to comply with. They must be Singapore citizens on Singapore permanent residents. Non-citizens are also eligible, but they must be legally residing in Singapore. Examples include foreign workers with employment passes and students with student passes.

Setting up a home office

There are other options to making use of your flat, such as converting it into a home office. Owners and subtenants who are 18 years and above are eligible to do this. They must also meet some other conditions such as:
  • Ensuring the place remains a residence. The work area must be ancillary to the residence and all activities must be confined within the flat.
  • The business must be registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority unless it is exempted from registration under the Business Registration Act.
  • The flat cannot be a registered address for a society.
  • The environment in the flat cannot be noisy and must not emit smoke or other harmful substances.
  • The business cannot encourage illegal or unlawful behaviour, such as gambling or prostitution.
  • There cannot be advertisements or posters displayed and there must be no selling of physical goods.

Home-Based Small Scale Business

This type of scheme allows for small scale activities to operate from home without engaging other employees. You do not need to get any approval from HDB. Here is a list of some of the small scales businesses that are allowed. They include:
  1. Doing office work on your computer which is linked to the main office computer.
  2. Undertaking sewing at home to supplement the household income.
  3. Freelancing work without employing anyone.
  4. Baking cakes at home on a small scale, without turning it into a bakery.
  5. Conducting private tuition for not more than 3 students at any one time.
  6. Providing beauty services (hairdressing, facials, etc) to supplement the household income.

Keeping pets

If you’re a pet lover, then take note of the approved breeds of dogs that are allowed to be kept in HDB flats. Those who do not follow this rule are liable to incur a fine not exceeding S$4,000. Owners who do own a dog must also take responsibility for it and make sure it doesn’t cause a nuisance to neighbours. For more information related to the keeping of dogs, please access the HDB website at
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