Responding to a ST Forum letter by Mr Larry Leong questioning why he is required to pay Property Tax when he is a tenant and not an owner of his 99 year lease flat, HDB clarified that purchasers of HDBs are owners and not tenants, even though the legal documents which you received during the purchase of a HDB says otherwise.

“While applying to rent out my HDB flat, I noticed that the Housing Board referred to me as a “tenant”, and my potential tenant as a “sub-tenant”. I have paid up my HDB flat fully, and the title deed has been left in the safe possession of the HDB who, it appears, is my landlord.

Is that correct or should the wording of these documents be updated? If I am an HDB tenant, why am I required to pay property tax? Can we have some clarity on whether HDB dwellers are tenants or real home owners for 99 years?”

In response, HDB clarified with this:

“Purchasers of HDB flats are owners of their property. Flat owners enjoy rights to exclusive possession of the flat during the tenure of the flat lease. They can sell, let out, and renovate their flats, within the guidelines specified in the Lease and Housing and Development Act.

The name of each HDB flat owner is reflected in the title deed, the original of which is kept with the Singapore Land Authority, as part of the central and comprehensive record for all properties in Singapore. This confirms his or her ownership of the property. We would like to clarify that HDB does not use the term “tenant” to refer to those who have bought a flat, as Mr Leong had mentioned.

We use the term “tenant” to refer to those who rent public rental flats from HDB.”

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