While we have previously compiled a comprehensive rental guide to show you how to go about renting in Singapore, this article summarises the list of rental regulations that you should take note of before you end up being involved in a case of illegal subletting.
Eligibility criteria for tenants:
Tenants who are not Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents must possess at least one of the following:
- A valid employment pass, or work permit such as an S-Pass
- A student pass
- A dependent pass
- A long-term social visit pass
All passes must be valid for at least six months from the date of the tenant’s application. In addition, work permit holders from the following sectors must be Malaysian:
Note that tourists are never allowed as tenants.
If you’re renting out your flat to a company for the purposes of housing its employees, the employees must meet the above conditions.
Eligibility criteria for landlords
For landlords, only Singapore Citizens are eligible to rent out their entire HDB flat. In addition, you must have met the five year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) before attempting to rent out your whole flat.
Both Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents can sublet bedrooms (as opposed to renting out the whole flat). This is only allowed for flats that are three-room or bigger. They must also register any subletting with HDB, within seven days of the subletting commencement date.
Private property owners can rent out their homes whenever they choose.
Maximum number of tenants / subtenants
For private properties, the maximum number of unrelated tenants is six, regardless of the property size. Yes, that’s right; a giant bungalow with three storeys has the same limit as a three-bedroom condo. Good luck figuring out why, we certainly can’t.
In addition for private properties, each tenant must have at least 10 square metres of space.
There are strict rental regulations for HDBs: There is a maximum number of tenants and occupants allowed in each HDB flat.
|Renting of Whole Flat||Renting of Bedroom(s)|
|Flat Type||Maximum Number of Subtenants Allowed in Each Flat^||Maximum Number of Bedroom(s) Allowed||Maximum Number of Occupants* Allowed in Each Flat^|
|1-room and 2-room||4||Owners are not allowed to sublet the bedroom.|
|4-room and bigger||9||2||9|
* Include flat owners, authorised occupiers, and subtenants
* Living room, household shelter, and utility room cannot be sublet
Rental regulations on subletting period
The minimum rental period for tenants (in any HDB or private property) is always six months.
For HDBs flats the maximum subletting period is three years per application. However, if one or more of your tenants is a non-citizen and non-Malaysian, the maximum subletting period is reduced to half that (1.5 years).
Non-citizen subletting quota
The Non-Citizen Quota for Renting Out of Flat applies if (1) renting out your whole flat, and (2) if any tenant in the flat is a non-citizen and non-Malaysian. This quota is implemented to enforce a good ethnic mix (this prevents the formation of ethnic enclaves).
The quota at eight per cent at the neighbourhood level, and 11 per cent at the block level (in effect, only Singaporeans and Malaysians can rent out your whole flat once the quota is reached).
You can check the current quotas in your area by contacting HDB.
Public Rental Scheme
The Public Rental Scheme provides housing for low-income Singapore Citizens. It is only open to citizens with a monthly household income not exceeding $1,500.
This scheme allows you rent a studio apartment or two-room flat from HDB. The monthly rental rate is dependent on your income.
|Monthly Household Income||Applicant Type||Monthly Rent|
|$800 or less||First-timer||$26 – $33||$44 – $75|
|Second-timer||$90 – $123||$123 – $165|
|Between $801 and $1,500||First-timer||$90 – $123||$123 – $165|
|Second-timer||$150 – $205||$205 – $275|
* First-timer: Do not currently own or have not sold off any type of HDB flats, and have never obtained other housing subsidies.
* Second-timer: Have owned or sold off any type of HDB flat, or have obtained other forms of hosuing subsidy.
These flats cannot be further sublet.
Check out other rental related articles here: How to rent out a condo quickly in Singapore: a 7-step guide and Renting out a room? 9 landlord must-dos to avoid headaches
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