What Should I Do if I Was Retrenched and Can’t Collect My HDB BTO Keys?

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
What Should I Do if I Was Retrenched and Can’t Collect My HDB BTO Keys?
Even if you live under a rock, you probably know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a whirlwind of problems across the world.
In Singapore, the Ministry of Trade (MTI) predicts the economy could fall by 7% — the worst since independence. Meanwhile, economists also predict that 200,000 people will be out of a job.
To help homeowners cope with the impacts of COVID-19, the government has provided reliefs such as Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Option to Purchase (OTP) extensions, as well as home loan deferments.
However, these are mostly for existing homeowners (i.e. people who have already taken ownership of their properties). But what about those who previously planned to collect their keys during this period, but had their plans disrupted by the global pandemic?
In this article, we explain how you can defer your HDB key collection appointment, which can be helpful for those experiencing financial difficulties (e.g. loss of job, pay cut) and hence are unable to get the Home Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter or have trouble making the downpayment for the HDB flat.

HDB BTO key collection deferment: you can defer your appointment for up to a month

You can apply to defer your HDB key collection date for up to one month. According to HDB: “those who need to change the appointment date should do so within one month from the date of the original appointment. Otherwise, their flat application can be cancelled, and they will forfeit 5% of the purchase price.”
HDB may also consider deferring your key collection date beyond one month if you need more time to sort out your finances. However, if further deferment is not the ideal solution, HDB may then work with you to explore other ways, including helping you to buy another flat that’s more affordable and within your new budget.
There are many reasons why you may need to defer your key collection date, but it’s usually due to 1) financial difficulties or 2) a pending sale for your previous flat. Here are some sample scenarios to show how HDB BTO key collection deferment can help.

Example A (if you’re pending a resale transaction)

You and your spouse are in the midst of selling your current flat, and need the funds from the sale proceeds to finance your new flat.
Since the resale flat transaction takes about 8 to 10 weeks, you apply to HDB to defer your key collection date. HDB approves and says that you can collect the keys after you’ve completed the resale transaction. You collect the funds, pay the downpayment, and collect the keys to your new flat.
The above example is quite common, as it’s impossible to perfectly time the selling of your old flat and the buying for your new home. As such, as long as you are able to show that there is a pending transaction, HDB usually allows homeowners the time needed to finalise the sale.
However, if you need more time due to financial difficulties, read the next example.

Example B (if you lost your job)

Due to COVID-19, you got retrenched and as a result, you and your spouse are unable to pay the downpayment and secure a home loan for your new flat. To buy yourself more time to raise the funds needed, you appeal to defer your key collection date for two months as you hunt for a new job. HDB approves and gives you another two months.
Unfortunately, two months later, you are still unable to secure a job. As you cannot hold onto the flat indefinitely, HDB decides to cancel your flat application. For cancellations, there is usually a penalty of 5% of the purchase price.
After accessing your financial situation, however, HDB may decide to waive the 5% penalty, and help you find another unit that is more suitable given your new budget constraints.

How to contact HDB for BTO key collection deferment

To seek approval to defer your key collection date, you can inform HDB by emailing them at


If you’re having financial difficulties and have trouble deferring your key collection, it’s good that you have the option to defer the process. But apart from letting HDB know ahead of your HDB BTO key collection deferment, it’s also good to inform HDB earlier should you need more time to secure the funds to finance your flat.
Also, don’t forget to inform your renovation contractor and internet/utility provider of your deferment!
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