Saturday, March 13, 2010

HDB steps up enforcement on illegal subletting

THE Housing & Development Board yesterday said it has stepped up enforcement action against home-owners who illegally sub-let their government-subsidised flats. The move comes weeks after HDB unveiled policy changes designed to hurt speculators, including increases to the minimum occupation period (MOP).

HDB said that from January 2008 to December last year, it took enforcement action against 56 flat owners. They faced penalties that ranged from fines of $1,000 to $21,000, to repossession of their flats.

In particular, HDB shared details of a case in which a Bukit Batok flat owned by Poh Boon Kay and his wife Khoo Kim Cheng was repossessed after there was ‘blatant flouting of sub-letting rules’.

Mr and Mrs Poh own five private properties and Mr Poh is also a registered real estate agent. The couple did not fulfil the MOP of three years, which is required under HDB’s rules before a whole flat can be sub-let. They claimed that they were not aware of this policy. Further investigations showed that Mr Poh was related to two other cases of unauthorised sub-letting, at Bukit Batok and Telok Blangah. HDB will also take legal action to compulsorily acquire those two flats.

It reiterated yesterday that owners who wish to sub- let their whole flat must obtain approval from HDB and fulfil the MOP. The MOP for sub-letting is now five years for flats bought direct from HDB and resale flats bought with any CPF housing grant, and three years for resale flats bought without the CPF housing grant.

Home-owners must also comply with HDB rules regarding the maximum number of sub-tenants allowed for the flat’s size.

Source: Business Times, 13 Mar 2010

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