From time to time, we read about homeowners who face financial difficulties and who then find themselves without a home. There are periodic online postings which are critical of HDB and other government agencies, often providing incomplete accounts.
A few households sometimes expect HDB to help them in ways which may not be viable or in their best interests. There are, however, various measures that HDB takes to help those with financial difficulties achieve a more sustainable housing solution. For instance, HDB could suggest the following:
(1) Deferring or reducing the payment of the loan instalment for six months
(2) Arranging an instalment plan to settle the arrears within a reasonable time period
(3) Allowing the subletting of a spare room to supplement household income
(4) Including working family member(s) as joint owner(s), so that they can help service the loan with their CPF savings
In the event that households no longer have the means to keep their flats, HDB can help flat owners to right-size, by moving to a smaller and more affordable one. Interim rental housing can also be arranged for households who require assistance, while they work out a long-term solution. There are also instances in which HDB offers these flat owners the option of renting a flat at subsidised rates.
HDB recognises that flat owners in financial difficulties usually face various problems, beyond housing alone. In addition to providing these measures, we also work with other government agencies, Community Development Councils, Voluntary Welfare Organisations, and Family Services Centres to help tackle their problems holistically. Housing counsellors, who are trained to provide financial counselling to household in arrears, are also deployed at all HDB Branches.