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FAQ on how Divorcees can Buy and Manage an HDB flat

Posted by Team SGHomez on April 2, 2019
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  • 3 min read by Team SGHomez

It is often unpredictable whether a couple may be happily attached today but break up later. Couples may end up confused on dealing with the complication of buying/selling the shared HDB house – in this article we give possible answers to the common questions below:

Q: My fiancée and I had applied for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat way back in the year 2012 and paid the 5% deposit. However, we have broken up and therefore wish to cancel the application. Are we able to get back the 5% deposit?

A: The down payment is non-refundable in case you cancel the application. In this case, you will not be allowed to apply or be included as an essential owner of the new DBSS flat/executive/HDB flat and Release flat within one year from the date of cancellation. In cases where couples are first-timers and have been granted a Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) and an Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG), the couple is expected to return the full amount with interest. This is paid before one is allowed to apply as a significant owner of the new flat or a resale HDB with housing grant in later on either by themselves or by getting a divorce real estate agent to help you out.As a first timer/second-timer applicant, your household status will be assessed for a new HDB flat at the time of your application.


Q: What will happen if my ex-girlfriend and I wish to cancel the application for Executive Condominium (EC) or a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat?

A: As DBSS and ECs are sold by private developers, the Sale & Purchase Agreements are signed between the developers and the flat buyers. There will be a financial penalty meted out by the respective developers. This will include a compulsory Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) beforehand one is allowed to sell the flat. It should, however, be noted that the price for withdrawing a DBSS or an EC application is 20% of the total value of the flat. This is much higher than as compared to the 5% of an HDB flat. In case if buyers did not fulfil the 5-year MOP, they will not be allowed to resell their HDB apartment.

Q: I’m a divorcee who had bought a BTO flat with my ex-spouse before divorcing. Am I allowed to buy a new BTO flat with my current wife?

A: Yes. A divorcee who has enjoyed housing subsidies previously, for instance, through an sale of a resale flat that was purchased with CPF Housing Grant or even under direct-purchase flat from HDB can still apply for a new flat with the new spouse as long as both met all the eligibility conditions, for instance, citizenship, income ceiling and among others.

Also, to note from July 2013 BTO exercise onwards, couples comprising both a first-timer and second-timer applying for a new HDB flat are eligible for flat allocation priorities as families compromise two first-timers.

Q: We just registered our marriage but decided to get an annulment. Can we still keep the flat?

A: In Singapore, if a couple divorces, it typically means that they have officiated their marriage at the Registry of Marriages but not yet held their bridal banquet. One party can choose to keep the flat, if one of their parents was initially listed either as occupiers or co-applicants.

Q: My wife and I have filed a divorce. How much do I have to pay my wife if I want to keep the flat?

A: In the case of divorce, the court will decide on how the marital home will be settled. For instance, the court, in its ruling, may order one party to transfer the full ownership of the flat to the ex-spouse or sell his/she share of the flat to the ex-spouse at the current market value. In case if neither is eligible to retain the flat, for instance, if the minimum period of occupation is not met; the court may order the returned of the flat to HDB at prevailing compensation price. The HDB will then handle the case based on the orders of the court.

If a party is allowed to retain the HDB flat, he/she is expected to meet the following requirements:

  1. He/she has the child custody;
  2. He/she includes another individual in the ownership of the HDB flat, for instance, parents if they have no child from the marriage;
  3. He/she will retain the HDB flat alone, as outlined in the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) scheme as a Singaporean and at least 35 years of age. The person is also required to fulfil the balance of MOP before one is allowed to sell the HDB flat in the open market.

If one party is eligible to retain the subsidized flat, the other party can apply for a subsidized flat after three years. There is no three-year ban if the other party chooses to buy non-subsidized flat from the open market.

Sometime it is not easy to handle your HDB flat during divorcing – therefore it is important to find an experienced real estate agent to help you. Should you have any queries regarding your HBD – contact Joseph Tan to find out more on how he can  help you to save time and fasten the process.

  • Contact Joseph

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