Sunday, January 31, 2010

What properties can PRs buy?

The Government has no restrictions on permanent residents when it comes to buying, selling and sub-letting condominium units. But there are rules for landed property and HDB flats.

To buy landed property – bungalow, semi-detached house, terrace house and town house, whether freehold or leasehold – PRs need to apply for a permit from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). They will be assessed on their economic contributions – qualifications, expertise and investments here.

PRs cannot sell their landed property within three years of buying it. After three years, they may sell it to a Singaporean or another PR, who has to seek SLA’s permission for the purchase. PR owners of landed properties are also not allowed to rent them out under the Residential Property Act. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $5,000 or a jail term capped at three years, or both.

PRs are allowed to buy resale HDB flats – but not new flats – without housing and mortgage subsidies.

Resale HDB flats bought without a CPF housing grant and with a bank loan can be sold one year from the date of purchase. To sub-let the whole flat, the PR must have lived in it for three years.

Owners of HDB flats are allowed to sub-let rooms if they own a three-room or bigger flat. There is no minimum occupation period for renting out rooms. Owners have to adhere to the number of tenants allowed by the HDB.

No prior approval from HDB is required for the sub-letting of rooms. But with effect from tomorrow, flat owners who sub-let rooms have to register with the HDB within seven days of doing so.

This applies to all, not just PRs. Those who illegally sub-let entire flats may have their units taken back by the HDB or may have to pay a fine of $1,000 to $21,000.

Source: Sunday Times, 31 Jan 2010

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