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HDB should clamp down hard on illegal subletting of HDB flats

Posted by temasektimes on May 7, 2012

One of the seldom mentioned reasons for the spiraling prices of HDB flats is their illegal subletting by owners for commercial purposes which led to their increased valuation.

Though HDB flats are meant to be used for residence only, the rules are increasingly flaunted by owners who convert their flats either into a workers’ dormitory or hotel.

Attached below is an advertisement on ‘roomorama’ offering a common room in a HDB flat in Sengkang for $55 a night:

Its description reads:

“Fully furnished spacious common Single/double room with air con, bed, wardrobe with shared bathroom for short and long term rent in clean and quiet environment..Check in after 2pm . Check out before 12 noon. Extra person @ extra charges will be provided a single bed with mattress, pillow, blanket or comforter and clean quality bed sheet. All rooms are solely to yourself with secure Lockable Security and fully furnished with a/c.”

A quick check on the same website reveals other similar advertisements being put up soliciting for customers which is illegal under HDB rules.

Here’s another one at Clementi which charges $100 for a night stay:

Besides subletting for temporary stay, another form of illegal subletting involves housing more than the stipulated number of residents allowed in the flat.

The flat owner rents out the entire unit to a tenant, usually a foreigner who will then sublet it to other foreign workers. The common practice entails squeezing 6 to 8 men in a single room. Each person pays a monthly rental of $100 – $200 for a space on a double-decker bed, utilities and Wifi access.

HDB should send more officers on the ground to clamp down on such illegal subletting of HDB flats which has becoming increasingly prevalent over the last few years.

Not only must the rules be strictly enforced, harsh punishments should be meted out to the culprits including repossession of their flats, a fine and jail term to send a strong deterrent message to other potential offenders.

HDB flats are one of the pillars of our society with more than 80 percent of Singaporeans living in them. Such illegal subletting makes a mockery of HDB’s initial lofty aims of providing affordable housing to the masses and tears down the social fabric of our nation as well which we have painstakingly built up over the years.



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