By Leong Wai Kit | POSTED: 16 Jan 2014 18:02 | CNA

SINGAPORE

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has introduced a quota on subletting of whole flats to non-citizen subtenants.

It said the move is to prevent the formation of foreigner enclaves in estates and maintain the Singaporean character of the heartlands.

HDB flat owners who lease out whole units to foreigners will be bound by the new rule, with immediate effect.

The quota on subletting of whole units to non-citizen subtenants applies to all foreigners, except Malaysians.

It is set at 8 per cent per neighbourhood and at 11 per cent per block.

Owners who wish to lease their units must make sure the quotas for both are not exceeded.

HDB said some towns are already seeing more foreigners renting whole units. These include the Central area, Clementi, Jurong West, Queenstown and Sengkang.

HDB said the new policy will apply to all flat subletting applications.

Owners currently subletting their whole flat with HDB’s approval may continue to do so for the remaining approved duration.

However, if the remaining duration is more than one-and-a-half years, it will be reduced to one-and-a-half years from the date of inclusion.

The maximum period of subletting will be three years for Singaporeans and Malaysians, and one-and-a-half years for non-citizens. HDB said Malaysians are excluded as they “better integrate into our estates due to their cultural and historical similarities with Singaporeans”.

A property expert said the new ruling will have some impact on the HDB rental market, but not on the HDB resale market.

PropNex CEO Mohd Ismail said: “Public housing is all subjected to a minimum occupation period, and people who buy are subjected to keep the property for a long term, and not to rent out for a rental yield. Therefore, I don’t expect any impact on the resale prices.

He added that the new rule will also not have an impact on the private-property rental market.

He said: “We are talking about two different segments where the price is very different — because for public housing, the rental is… on average S$2,000 to S$2,500, while for private properties, a smaller unit will start with a S$3,000 budget.

“Therefore the target audience of these foreigners who are renting HDB properties are not likely to or can easily cross over (to private properties), due to the gap.”

– CNA/al

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/hdb-sets-quota-on/956344.html