When we think of renting in Singapore, we probably imagine doing so with an agent or a landlord. But few know that HDB also directly rents out heavily subsidised HDB flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) and the Public Rental Scheme.
Here’s a quick guide for you to check if you meet the eligibility criteria, and how to apply:
Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS)
BTO ai mai? Even after you’ve successfully BTO-ed, you’ve still got to wait till your flat is ready.
The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) is designed mainly for first-timer married couples who have booked a BTO flat that hasn’t been completed, providing them a rental flat to stay in in the meantime.
You can either apply as a married couple or fiancé/ fiancée, or as a divorced or widowed parent with children. You must also:
- Be a Singapore Citizen, with another Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident in your household
- Not own an existing HDB flat
- You and the other applicants for the PPHS flat must be listed in the BTO application (because what would you be doing renting a flat with someone else?!)
What can you rent?
Under this scheme, you can rent 3-room or 4-room HDB flats for as low as $600 per month:
Which is an absolute steal! For instance, 3-room rental flats in Hougang are only $600 a month under the PPHS, whereas the current market average hovers around $1,600; similarly, 3-rom rental flats in Yishun are also only $600 a month, compared to the market average of $1,800.
If location is a priority to you, there are even options in popular areas like Old Airport Road and Tiong Bahru.
That said, PPHS rental flats come unfurnished save for basic lighting and a water heater, which means your initial costs to make it a livable space might be quite high. Not too late to reclaim your room at your MIL’s, hopefully?
How to apply?
If you’re a first-timer applicant (i.e. the BTO is your first HDB flat), you can submit your application online through the HDB website.
If you’re a second-timer, you’ll have to submit your application in person at the Rental Housing Department at HDB Hub.
If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to select your flat the month after, and sign the Tenancy Agreement. At this point, you’ll also have to pay a 1-month rental deposit, the first month’s rental fees as well as the rental stamp duty.
Renting a HDB flat under PPHS
You’re allowed to rent the flat for up to 4 months after the Estimated Completion Date of your BTO flat or for a maximum of 3 years (but tbh, your BTO flat would probably be done by then. Yay!).
As for rent, monthly rental payments must be made via GIRO – simply submit an Interbank GIRO (IBG) form, again via the HDB website.
Public Rental Scheme
The Public Rental Scheme is designed to provide lower-income Singapore Citizen households with no housing options or family support with heavily subsidized HDB flats.
To apply for the Public Rental Scheme, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old at the time of application
- Have a total household gross income not exceeding $1,500 per month
- Not be existing tenants, essential occupiers or owners of any property, HDB or private
- Genuinely require financial support – if you’re assessed to be able to afford a flat, have other housing options, or have children who are financially able to provide other housing options for you, you won’t be eligible for this subsidy
You can apply as a family unit, i.e.:
- If married, you and your spouse/ fiancé(e)
- If single, you and your parents
- If widowed/ divorced, you and your children under your legal custody
- If orphaned, you and your siblings (at least 1 parent must have been a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident)
- And, at least 1 of you must be a Singapore Citizen, and the other also either a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident.
You can also apply as joint singles. In this case, both of you must be Singapore Citizens, at least 35 years old, and… Single (because you’re applying as joint singles!).
What can you rent?
Under this scheme, you can rent 1-room or 2-room HDB flats in certain neighborhoods, namely Ang Mo Kio, Bedok/ Tampines, Bukit Merah/ Jurong, and Woodlands.
HDB’s map of rental flat locations e-service shows you the availability of 1 and 2-room flats in each neighborhood, right down to street level:
Your rental fees depends on your monthly household income and whether you’re a first or second-timer applicant:
*You’re considered a first-timer applicant if you and your co-applicants don’t own and haven’t sold off any HDB flat, and haven’t previously obtained any other forms of housing subsidy.
How to apply?
You can either apply in person at HDB Rental Housing counter at HDB Hub, or through the HDB website.
Note that if you apply through the latter, you’ll still have to submit the required documents to the HDB Rental Housing counter for verification.
The application takes a week to process; but unlike renting a flat from landlords, there’s no set estimated waiting time to know your application outcome or receive an offer.
HDB assesses the urgency of each application to help needy applicants get a rental flat earlier. (Which means to say, on the bright side, they won’t leave you in the lurch if you really need help!)
Renting a HDB flat under the Public Rental Scheme
Leases are typically about 2 years long.
Throughout this duration, rental payment can be made via GIRO, internet banking/ eNETS debit, or cash/ NETS at any HDB branch or Town Council office, by the 1st of every month.
Special rental schemes by the HDB
You can find out more about these HDB rental schemes here.
Do take note, though, that these schemes apply to only a specific intended group of renters, and options are limited. If you find that you don’t fall under those categories or would like more options, DIY your rental home-hunting on Carousell!