In my opinion, renting a HDB flat isn’t that bad, except the condition (I mean the decorations) is not so good, as compared to a condominium. But, some HDB flats are nicely renovated too. Not many, just some of them.
Anyway, if you have decided to rent a HDB flat or room, please know the regulations to protect yourself. The law has stated so, being ignorance won’t help.
1) You can rent the whole unit of a 1-Room or 2-Room HDB flat, but you can’t just rent a room. Living room, study room, household shelter, balcony and utility room can’t be rented. By the way, 1-Room flat means a studio, no room. 2-Room flat means 1 living Protected content .
2) Check the ownership before you rent. If he/she is not the rightful owner, or he/she didn’t get approval from the owner, then whatever agreement you signed will be invalid. As a result, you might end up being forced to leave and not being able to get back your security deposit and rent that you have paid in advance.
3) Again, check the status of the owner, if you’re renting the whole unit. HDB flat owner must be a Singapore Citizen (SC) in order to sublet it. Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) HDB flat owners are not allowed. If there are 2 or more owners (usually husband and wife), as long as there is one SC, then you are safe to rent from them. Take note, 2 owners 2 signatures in the Tenancy Agreement. Room renting is not affected in this case.
4) For room and whole unit, no short term basis; Period of lease must not be less than 6 months.
5) For non-citizens (SPRs and foreigners but exclude Malaysians), the maximum period of lease is 1.5 years.
6) No overcrowding is allowed. Maximum number of occupants allowed in each HDB flat, regardless of room or whole unit:
- 1-Room and 2-Room Flat = 4 persons
- 3-Room Flat = 6 persons
- 4-Room and Bigger Flat = 9 persons
7) You must not be a tourist in order to rent HDB flat or room.
8) You must be a SC or SPR or non-citizen legally residing in Singapore who is holder of Employment Passes, S Passes, Work Permits*, Student Passes, Dependant Passes, or Long-Term Social Visit Passes. These passes must have validity period of at least 6 months as at the date of subletting application. *Construction workers who are Work Permit holders must be Malaysians.
9) Flat owners who sublet bedrooms are required to register the subletting with HDB within 7 days. Not you.
10) Flat owners need to obtain prior written approval from HDB, before subletting their whole flat. Again, not you. However, the owner is told to include a clause in the Tenancy Agreement that the contract is subject to the owner obtaining HDB’s prior written approval for the subletting. It means if the owner couldn’t get the approval, then he/she will have to return the security deposit and the 1-month in advance rent to you, and you have to look for a place all over again.
So, these are the important regulations that you must know before you rent. As the regulations may change over time, you should really check with the official HDB website. The url?? … … … google it yourself.