Housing Board Development (HDB) Flat is an apartment build, sold and maintain by the government body. In another words, public housing provided for Singapore citizens or permanent residence. The key difference between HDB Flats and private housings is the price. These public housing is comparatively cheap as it is meant for the general citizens who are unable to buy private housings like Condomimium apartments or landed house.
However, there are a set of eligibility conditions to fulfil before they can buy a HDB Flat. There are actually many classes of flats which varies in sizes, namely, 1-room, 2-room, 3-room flat, 4-room flat, 5-room flat and executive flat. The bigger the square feets, the higher the price would be. For the full eligibility conditions, you may wish to visit the HDB website for more details. Because it is cheap, people who are richer or already has a place to stay who wanted to make more money, will try to beat the system buy buying a flat and renting or subletting it for an extra income. So is it so simple after all?
We then come to the topic – Is subletting such HDB flat legal in Singapore?
Well, it is permitted. But permission is needed from HDB in order for this subletting or rental to be legal. So you need to apply before you sign that tenancy agreement with your potential tenants. The tenant can be either locals or foreigners. But the responsibility is on the landlord to check whether the immigration status of these tenants are legal. The cost for rental application is $20 and each application approval by HDB last for 3 years.
Applying for subletting of the whole of your flat or even partially with HDB does not necessaru means that it would be approve. There are many conditions to check before applying. The key condition is that the landlord if the circumstances do not fall within the exceptions must stay in the flat for at least 3 or 5 years minimum occupation period (MOP).
So it is legal, but remember, you need to apply for approval before you can start doing so. My interactions with many people made me realised that not many people actually know this. But further subletting is not permitted and the responsibilty in on the landlord to make sure it does not happen.