SINGAPORE: The government plans to introduce a new scheme allowing more HDB households to benefit from redevelopment before leases expire for 99 years on their flats, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday (August 19).
Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) is part of a "long-term plan" to allow the government to redevelop gradual neighborhoods, Lee said in his National Day Rally speech. It will take place when the flats are about 70 years old, he added.
Mr. Lee said that the government will compensate residents whose apartments are being taken back early, and will also help them to live in another flat, exactly as they would when their leases expired.
But the conditions will be less generous than those of the Selective En-Bloc Redevelopment (SERS), because there are "less financial benefits".
That's why he said that the scheme is voluntary and that residents have to vote for VERS, just like they do for the Home Improvement Program (HIP).
"If the residents vote yes, we will continue," he said. explained. "The government buys back the whole district, all flats and redevelops it, and residents can use their proceeds to pay for another flat."
"If the residents do not vote, then they can stay in their flat until their leases expire."
However, Lee said the government needs time to get the details of the plan, such as how to select the neighborhoods, accelerate the redevelopments and the specific conditions of the government's offer. He added that they also need to study how they can afford VERS for the long term.
That's why the scheme will start less than 20 years, although the planning for this will start now, he said.