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HDB flat sellers can now ask for right to stay on

SINGAPORE — Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat sellers can now negotiate with their buyers to remain in their homes for up to three months after the sale has been completed, to help them complete renovations in their new property or get the cash from the sale needed to purchase their new home.

The three-month extension period would give sellers sufficient time to complete the purchase of their next home. TODAY FILE PHOTO

The three-month extension period would give sellers sufficient time to complete the purchase of their next home. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat sellers can now negotiate with their buyers to remain in their homes for up to three months after the sale has been completed, to help them complete renovations in their new property or get the cash from the sale needed to purchase their new home.

About 2,700 households — or 15 per cent of all resale transactions — stand to benefit from this new rule, which takes immediate effect, the HDB announced yesterday.

However, any such arrangements are subject to the buyers’ agreement, it added. Both parties must also agree to the details of the extension, including the duration and monetary compensation, if any.

Previously, those who sold their HDB flats had to move out as soon as they completed the resale transaction as buyers were required under the lease to immediately occupy their new homes.

“But this may put some sellers in a difficult situation,” noted National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post yesterday. “Some do not have their homes to move into as they may not yet be ready (as) renovation is in progress. Others may first need funds from the sale of their current flat before they can complete the purchase of their next home.

“As a result, they often need to frantically look for some short interim rental arrangement, resulting in some disruption to their daily life,” he said.

Mr Khaw said the three-month period would give sellers “sufficient time” to complete the purchase of their next home.

Flat sellers who wish to extend their stay temporarily must have committed to buy a completed housing unit in Singapore at the time of the resale application, said the HDB. This means they must have exercised an Option to Purchase or signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement. Sellers will also have to submit their request to the HDB for the extension of stay at the time of the resale application.

Real estate company ERA lauded the new rule, noting that most HDB flat owners are single-home owners, reported Channel NewsAsia.

“It is something the market has been pushing for some time, and it is certainly a relief that we now have an official policy to allow for this temporary extension of stay for the seller after the completion of the sale,” said Mr Eugene Lim, ERA’s key executive officer. He added that the move might help boost the volume of resale HDB flats in the months to come.

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