HDB Rental Rules Update:

Since Jan 1, non-Malaysian work permit holders from the manufacturing sector are no longer eligible to rent a whole Housing Board flat, and can only rent rooms.

Those currently renting can stay on until their existing subletting approvals expire.

The rule change affects about 3.5 per cent of HDB households that are subletting all or part of their flats.

As of Sept 30, there were 52,394 wholly sublet HDB flats. 

Flat owners who currently sublet their flats to non-Malaysian manufacturing work permit holders are informed of the change, and they would have time to make the necessary preparations.

The revision in subletting conditions is part of the Government’s longer-term plan to house non- Malaysian work permit holders in purpose-built dormitories and approved workers’ quarters with facilities to better cater to their needs.”

Work permits are for semi-skilled foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine, process or service sectors.

Since Nov 7, 2006, non-Malaysian work permit holders from the construction sector have not been able to sublet HDB flats or rooms. This was extended to the marine and process sectors from May 1, 2015.

Now, only non-Malaysian work permit holders in the service sector can rent whole flats. Asked if the rules will be changed for them too, the HDB said only that it “reviews its rules regularly to maintain the balance between the needs of flat owners and sub-tenants”.

The HDB said Malaysian work permit holders can still rent HDB flats and rooms “due to the close historical and cultural similarities between Malaysians and Singaporeans”.

The rule change is unlikely to have much impact, said employers.