News: HDB urged to remove joint tenancy requirement for public rental flats

Nov 11, 2019

This comes as a study found that Singapore has 1,050 homeless people, with unemployment, irregular working hours, low pay, family relationship problems, and lack of access to public housing cited as the main reasons for homelessness.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has been called to remove its joint tenancy requirement for public rental flat, after respondents at an academic study on homeless people in Singapore cited problems in getting along with co-tenants as one of their reasons for sleeping rough, reported Today Online. 

Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe of the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, who led the study, noted that the eligibility criteria under HDB’s public rental scheme are “strict, space is inadequate, and conflict between co-tenants due to the requirement for single occupants to share a ‘one-room flat’ with no bedrooms is well-documented”.

“Removing the joint-tenancy requirement as an immediate step will not only improve this exit path from homelessness, but will also help to realise basic standards of privacy for the poorest residents in the public housing sector,” he said. 

Under the study, a person is considered homeless if they are found sleeping or preparing to sleep in public places after 11.30pm, and is in possession of some form of bedding (cardboard, floor covering, loose furniture, etc). This is despite if they have a residential property under their name. 

Key findings

The study found that Singapore has 1,050 homeless people, with unemployment, irregular hours, low pay, family relationship problems, and lack of access to public housing cited as the main reasons for homelessness.

Roughly 40% of those surveyed said they have a residential property under their name, of which 15% have public rental flats as addresses, while 11% own HDB flats.

Meanwhile, 39% of the respondents said they could live in a safer place, but chose not to do so due to their desire to be near workplaces. Other reasons include conflict with family members; unwillingness to inconvenience friends or employers; and problems with getting along with co-tenants in HDB’s public rental scheme.

RELATED: HDB’s Public Rental Scheme eligibility

 

HDB: Joint Singles Scheme helps “as many needy singles as possible”

In responding to Dr Ng’s suggestion to remove the joint tenancy requirement, HDB explained that the present arrangement helps “as many needy singles as possible to have a roof over their heads”.

“As the rent is split between co-tenants, the rent paid by each tenant will also generally be lower,” it said, noting that the requirement also “ensures prudent use of limited public resources”.

It noted that most of the tenants under the public rental scheme’s Joint Single Scheme are able to amicably live together. Those who want to have more privacy can have partitions within their units.

Nonetheless, its spokesperson said that HDB is ready to consider requests from those needing to stay alone for exceptional reasons, like medical conditions.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

 

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