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800 more rental flats to be made available from Q4 2021 for families waiting for BTO units: HDB

SINGAPORE — More rental flats will be set aside over the next two years to assist families who need temporary housing while waiting for their Build-to-Order (BTO) flat to be completed, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

A view of the upcoming Waterway Sunrise Built-to-Order (BTO) flats at Punggol on July 30, 2021. Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said some HDB home buyers have been badly affected by construction delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are unable to find alternative housing arrangements.

A view of the upcoming Waterway Sunrise Built-to-Order (BTO) flats at Punggol on July 30, 2021. Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said some HDB home buyers have been badly affected by construction delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are unable to find alternative housing arrangements.

  • Of the 800 flats, 200 will be ready by the fourth quarter of this year

  • These flats fall under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme

  • Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said flats under the scheme remain limited

  • This is due to the surge in demand resulting from BTO construction delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic

 

SINGAPORE — More rental flats will be set aside over the next two years to assist families who need temporary housing while waiting for their Build-to-Order (BTO) flat to be completed, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

In a statement on Tuesday (Aug 3), HDB said it would make 800 flats available to such families under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme. This will almost double the 840 flats available under the scheme now.

To qualify, families must have booked an HDB flat that has yet to be completed.

About 200 flats will be ready this year and progressively released for application from the fourth quarter of this year, said HDB.

The units available under the scheme include vacated flats at sites currently undergoing the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, flats which are unsold, and possibly vacant staff apartments at various polytechnics that are temporarily available.

In 2020, the demand for interim rental housing from families waiting for the completion of their BTO flats has increased to 2,350 compared to 1,370 in the year before, added HDB.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said the authorities have been working hard to increase the supply of flats under the scheme to assist HDB home buyers who have been badly affected by construction delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are unable to find alternative housing arrangements. 

However, he noted that the supply of flats under the scheme remains limited due to the increased demand from families and people who want their own space as they work from home, among other reasons.

And while tenants under the scheme usually stay for about two years, delays in the completion of BTO flats mean that they are staying for longer durations, he added.

“The shortage of construction workers has also led to delays in sprucing up the flats after they are returned to HDB, and this has increased the time taken for the vacated flats to be rented out to new tenants,” said Mr Lee.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Due to the limited supply of flats, HDB said that it will adjust its eligibility criteria and allocation process under the scheme to prioritise families in greater need of temporary housing. 

From Wednesday, it will introduce an income ceiling of S$7,000 for families applying for such flats.

Priority will also be given to married couples with children aged 18 and below, including expectant parents.

Also, the selection exercise for flats will now be held every two months, instead of every month. 

“The consolidation of flats over two months will provide applicants with a larger pool of flats to choose from,” said HDB.

Despite the increased demand, HDB said about half of the applicants who were invited to select a flat eventually did not do so.

“This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as location preferences,” said HDB, adding that this also “suggests that not all applicants may be in urgent need of temporary housing”. 

Therefore, to help those with more urgent housing needs secure a flat more quickly, applicants who did not pick a flat after being selected twice under the scheme will need to wait a year from the date of their second rejection before they can apply for a flat again.

This applies to families who did not proceed with their selection, despite being able to do so, as well as those who did not proceed to pay for the flat after selecting one.

“Given the limited supply of flats (under the scheme), we encourage households awaiting the completion of their BTO flats to continue living with their families or consider renting from the open market,” said HDB. 

Low income households without any housing options may contact HDB, and it will assess if interim rental housing can be offered to them on a case-by-case basis.

HDB also encouraged potential home buyers to account for the waiting time of new BTO flats and plan ahead for interim housing options before the completion of their BTO project.

It also advised families who want to set up their homes sooner to consider buying a resale flat.

Related topics

HDB BTO Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme delay construction

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