Housing and Development Board (HDB) new caps on the subletting of flats to foreigners!

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The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has new caps on the subletting of flats to foreigners, but stopped short of extending the cap to the subletting of rooms, to minimise the impact on those who rely on doing so for additional income.

There were drew divided views from property experts and Members of Parliament (MPs) on whether the quota which takes immediate effect would be effective in addressing the HDB’s objectives of maintaining a “Singaporean character” in the heartlands.

Under the new rule, which is aimed at “(preventing) the formation of foreigner enclaves” within HDB estates, no more than 8 per cent of the units in a neighbourhood can be rented out to foreigners and permanent residents. For each HDB block, the cap is 11 per cent.

Malaysians, however, will be excluded from this cap as the HDB pointed out that they can “better integrate into our estates due to their cultural and historical similarities with Singaporeans”.

Subletting rooms to foreigners would still be permitted, to reduce the impact on people who rely on subletting for additional income, such as the elderly and low-income households, said the HDB.

Mr Colin Tan, the Director and Head of Research and Consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, however, felt this was an “escape” clause, and questioned the effectiveness of the cap in addressing concerns on foreigner enclaves at HDB estates

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