The MND stressed that with HDB soon embarking on redevelopment plans for many of the older blocks.
Png Eng Huat recently directed queries to the Minister for National Development regarding: the number of public rental flats that are unoccupied as of August 2019; the current number of accepted rental flat applicants on the wait list; and what is the estimated waiting period for eligible applicants to be assigned public rental flats.
In response to the first question, the Ministry of National Development (MND) declared the HDB currently has around 8,000 rental units, some of which are not meant for new rental application.
The MND stressed that with HDB soon embarking on redevelopment plans for many of the older blocks, the buffer of rental units is for catering to existing tenants whose flats are up for redevelopment in the coming years.
For the second question, the MND noted there are around 200 households waiting to receive their keys to a public rental flat. There have been households that have been invited for key collection, but chose to delay it for various reasons.
As regards the third question, the MND revealed that there are now sufficient rental units to meet demand and applicants wait for around two months before being assigned a public rental flat.
The Ministry also emphasised that a waiting time cannot be avoided, as HDB needs to assess the application and to identify available units that will suit the applicant’s preferred location.
On the other hand, associate professor Daniel Goh Pei Siong wanted to know how many applications for HDB flat rentals under the Public Rental Scheme have been rejected on the ground of the applicant having exceeded the household income ceiling in the three years before the adjustment in policy to make the criteria more flexible.
In relation to this query, Pritam Singh also wanted to know how many successful HDB rental flat applicants over the past five years have exceeded the $1,500 income eligibility threshold.
The MND responded by saying HDB has been utilising a needs-based approach in evaluating requests for public rental flats. Under it, HDB evaluates each application holistically, taking into consideration factors such as income and whether the applicants have family support and other housing options.
The Ministry emphasised that HDB will help those in need with a public rental flat even if their income is beyond $1,500.
Over the past five years, HDB has set aside rental flats to around 720 applicants who exceeded the $1,500 income threshold. However, the MND noted that there is no data on the number of applicants rejected by having incomes above $1,500, as applicants are not rejected solely on the basis of household income.
Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email email@example.com