Why HDB flats are owned and not rented, Letters in printed news and top stories

Mr. Ku Swee Yong argues that flat buyers of Housing Board are "just tenants renting the HDB flats" (obsolete ideas about home ownership and land shortages paralyze us, Aug. 14).

According to his logic, a lease of 999 years for private condominium should also be considered a rent. But nobody would regard this as such.

Leaseholds grant property rights for a fixed duration. The mandate can vary from just 20 years and can be up to 999 years or longer.

It is not unusual to find homes with lease contracts of 99 years or shorter around the world, including in China and Australia.

Property owners can sell their property and retain the profits. Similarly, owners of an HDB flat can sell their flats as soon as they meet the eligibility criteria and keep the proceeds, or stay in while they rent an income room.

Leases, on the other hand, are usually for shorter installments where rent is paid.

So renters usually do not have the right to sell their lease.

If the lessor sells the property, the tenant may have to leave unless the agreement stipulates that the sale is subject to rent.

The tenant also has no interest in the long-term value of the property and does not receive upward potential.

The values ​​of long lease contracts can rise for many years, even if the mandate expires. It depends on factors such as economic growth. At the end of the lease, the country returns to the state.

By then, the owner would either have obtained income from renting the flat or an equivalent advantage of living in it for many decades.

In the case of HDB flats, many generations of Singaporeans have benefited over the years from the appreciation of their flats, in combination with the growth of the country.

Owners of public housing even enjoy unique benefits, such as generous housing subsidies and heavily subsidized flat-upgrades, which are not available to private homeowners.

The recently announced Home Improvement Program II and Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme are commitments made by the government to ensure that our HDB estates remain liveable and alive, even as they get older.

Lim Lea Lea (Ms)

Director (branch activities)

Housing and Development Board

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