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HDB pilot scheme to allow singles to apply for rental flats without having to look for a flatmate first

SINGAPORE — Singles looking to apply for public rental flats will soon no longer have to find a flatmate first, under a new pilot initiative to be launched by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) later this year.

HDB pilot scheme to allow singles to apply for rental flats without having to look for a flatmate first

The Housing and Development Board will appoint social service agencies to manage these flats.

SINGAPORE — Singles looking to apply for public rental flats will soon no longer have to find a flatmate first, under a new pilot initiative to be launched by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) later this year. 

Currently, only two or more singles can apply for a public rental flat together under the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS). Individuals who are not able to find a flatmate would typically have to approach the housing agency for help to source for one. 

Announcing the new scheme during the debate on the Ministry of National Development’s budget for the upcoming financial year on Thursday (March 4), Minister of State for National Development Faishal Ibrahim said that HDB will appoint social service agencies to manage these flats. 

The agencies will help the single tenant to find a suitable flat mate, mediate any disagreements that may arise between them and arrange for them to switch to other public rental flats, if necessary. 

HDB will set aside a few floors in a few rental blocks to cater to applicants under this alternative JSS model, he added. 

“The rents in this new model will be largely similar to the JSS rents, and tenants will be subject to the same eligibility conditions,” said Associate Professor Faishal.

He said that HDB has been looking to improve the JSS as it has heard concerns from some individuals who face challenges in finding a flatmate or encounter difficulties in getting along with their flatmate. 

Besides piloting this alternative model, Assoc Prof Faishal said that HDB has been building new one-room rental flats with partitions. Some of them have internal doors to separate sleeping areas. About 705 of such flats have been built. 

For older one-room rental flats, he said that HDB can install partitions if the tenants contact the agency and make such requests. About 530 partitions have been installed in existing rental flats. 

Assoc Prof Faishal noted that most single tenants are prepared to share a flat with a flatmate.

"Flat sharing enables companionship and mutual support, which is especially important for older tenants. It also allows us to help as many who need a public rental flat as possible, within our limited resources," he said.

For individuals who have extenuating circumstances, such as medical conditions that make it unfeasible for them to share a flat, HDB is prepared to look into their requests to rent the whole rental flat, he added. 

Related topics

property HDB singles housing

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