Dear Pritam Singh
Singaporeans NEVER owned HDB flats and this issue has been highlighted on social media years ago. I have taken this a bit further by querying HDB and the reply from its legal counsel – we are owners only because it has been defined in the H & D Act. link
But aren’t all legislations enacted by PAP?
In fact, PAP has the power to redefine anything it wants. For example, we are ‘owners’ of our CPF but all the important aspects with regard to withdrawal and usage are defined by PAP. CPF belongs to CPF members?
It is important to address the issue of HDB flat ownership to prevent PAP from fleecing buyers any longer. Non-ownership of public housing is confirmed by the following:
1 The HDB lease, a legal instrument, clearly states that HDB is the “lessor” and buyers are the “lessees”. link These terms cannot be redefined by Parliament into something other than their definitions found in every English dictionary, ie a “lessor” is “the owner of an asset that is leased under an agreement to a lessee“, a “landlord“.
2 A HDB resale transaction is merely a lease transfer between lessees witnessed by HDB. HDB’s status as landlord/lessor remains unchanged.
3 Because HDB is the lessor or landlord, it has exercised its right to dictate the 1001 forever-changing regulations pertaining to:
– Purchasing eligibility – Implemented the Fiance/Fiancee scheme, Orphans scheme, Single Singapore Citizen scheme, Joint Singles scheme and what-not schemes.
– Selling eligibility – MOP, requirement to send request to HDB for confirmation of eligibility to sell, etc.
– Other regulations – ethnic quota, number of tenants permitted, when should blocks be upgraded, etc.
4 Residents don’t even have any collective power to disagree with HDB on any regulation. An “owner” having no say in the treatment of his own property is turning common sense on its head.
5 Rules are changed at HDB’s/PAP’s whim, ie from having only ethnic quota to now NC quota, PRs initially allowed to purchase HDB flats after status approved but now allowed to do so only after 3 years, etc.
6 When it comes to subletting whole unit, prior HDB approval must be sought and a fee paid by the HDB ‘owner’ for registration. For subletting of rooms, “owners” are required to notify HDB within 7 days and provide the necessary particulars of subtenants.
In which other country is an owner required by law to seek approval/notify the government that his property is being rented out?
7 HDB has been very mindful that it is the owner of ALL HDB flats, ie when it comes to room rental, it is unambiguous, precise in its wording by using “subletting” and “subtenants” on its website, “Register the subletting of bedrooms”.
When has a “subtenant” ever rented directly from the lessor (owner)? What do you think?
6 No citizen can ever own any public property. Period. All public property belongs to the government.
7 PAP has redefined buyers as “owners” in order to collect tens of millions in property tax at the stroke of a pen. Property tax is being gradually reduced because the government has realised citizens cannot be fooled much longer. But it has already fleeced billions from us.
8 By redefining calling “lessees” as “owners”, we are therefore responsible for the upkeep of public property which doesn’t belong to us, eg contribute to the sinking fund for cyclical repairs, pay for the maintenance of public areas, etc.
9 For bigger 4- and 5-room new flats, the land cost component could exceed $300,000, sometimes $400,000. But, unlike private property, why are we paying for ownership of the land which we can’t/don’t even own?
10 Contracts awarded to developers include the construction of HDB blocks and carparks and the purchase price of a new flat includes the cost of carpark construction . Why are the majority of buyers, who cannot even afford to drive, forced to pay for carpark construction cost?
11 If “lessees” are not redefined as “owners”, it would be impossible to justify the use of retirement savings to purchase HDB flats.
The WP cannot be unaware of this issue and it must be debated in Parliament, set the record straight.
Although PAP will gradually do away with HDB property tax – we should not have been paying in the first place – it does not automatically right a situation where buyers have been fleeced for decades.
That we are only “lessees” of public property is an inescapable fact. Propaganda had its day.
PAP seeks control of the population through the use of public property and should therefore bear the cost of maintenance. It should not relegate the maintenance of public property to HDB buyers who are mostly ordinary citizens struggling with cost of living issues. PAP cannot have its pie and eat it.
WP’s silence on a host of important issues, including our non ownership of HDB flats, is troubling. As elected MPs, you have much more power and resources than unelected opposition members and I hope you will start speaking up on behalf of your constituents and Singaporeans.
I will highlight other issues shortly.