You might have decided to rent out your apartment this summer because you have decided to spend some time back home or you’re going off travelling. Whatever your motives, subletting your apartment can be a minefield. First of all, to legally sublet in Singapore, you must own the let. You should also technically be a Singapore Citizen, as Permanent Residents are not allowed to rent out their home. You must have also fulfilled a Minimum Occupancy Period, which is usually around five years. If you decide to only rent out bedrooms rather than the whole house, you must seek approval from the HDB. You can do this online through their website and the result should be given immediately. You will have to pay an admin fee per bedroom of S$10.
Some other sublet guidelines to consider
There is no such thing as a short-term let in Singapore. The minimum rental period is six months and the maximum is three years. Unless you tenant is an expat, in which case, the rental period is reduced to 1.5 years.
The amount of tenants you can rent to is also limited according to the type of flat in which you live. 1 and 2 bed flats cannot be rented out for the bedrooms alone, the entire flat must be rented out. For homes of three bedrooms or more, the flat is limited to 6 people.
Your landlord responsibilities
You are only allowed to sublet to suitable tenants, who are here in Singapore legally. You might find yourself in a whole lot of trouble if your tenants overstay their visa or are not permitted to remain in Singapore. Of course, you also have to ensure that your tenants do not rent out their room to other people. If you are renting out bedrooms alone, then you as the owner are required to live in the flat with the tenants during the rental period. Your letting licence could be revoked if this is discovered to not be the case. You may also have to check the Non Citizen Rent Quota if you decide to sublet to expats or non-citizens. If the quota has already been filled for your block, then you will not be permitted to even rent a bedroom to someone who is not a Singapore citizen.
Who can you rent to?
- Singapore citizens
- Singapore permanent residents
- Non-citizens with employment passes, S pass, work permits, student pass, dependant pass, or long term social visit pass.
How do I proceed?
You must gain permission from HDB before drawing up contracts or even advertising your flat. If you are going to be overseas during the tenancy, then you must have an appointed attorney who will be able to manage the flat on your behalf. The same applies for bedrooms only. You must seek permission from HDB and if you decide to make any changes to the lease agreement, you must notify them first.
It may seem like a nightmare and it is true that renting out your apartment is only for the very few. However, if you are in the position to rent out your home, make sure you are prepared and have fulfilled all your legal obligations!