Everyone loves the idea of passive income, and one of the easiest ways to generate a steady stream of it is to rent out your home.
There’s one caveat, though… not everyone is eligible to rent out their property.
In this guide, we walk you through the requirements that you’ll have to meet before you can rent out your property. We'll also discuss the various renting scenarios (HDB rental vs condo rental, etc).
Whether you can rent out your home depends on various factors, including your citizenship, the number of people currently occupying your home, and your Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP).
If you’re a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident (PR), you’ll be able to rent out a bedroom in your HDB flat.
If you’re hoping to rent out your entire flat, on the other hand, this can only be done if you’re a citizen. PRs and foreigners are strictly not allowed to do this.
To the right you'll find a handy chart that gives you an overview of whether you’ll be able to rent out your whole flat.
Assuming you’re renting out an HDB flat and not a private property, HDB stipulates that there's a maximum of six occupants allowed in a three-room flat or bigger.
In other words, you may rent out your flat and/or bedrooms only if there are less than six owners and/or authorized occupiers staying in your flat.
Here’s a handy table to break it down:
Basically, if you own a three-room flat, you may only rent out one bedroom. If you own a four-room flat or bigger, you may rent out two bedrooms.
For those who own a one-room or two-room flat, you’re only allowed to rent out your entire flat, not selected bedrooms.
Here, you can have a maximum of four tenants renting your flat. Any more, and HDB will come knocking on your door!
Last but not least, you’ll need to fulfill the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) before renting out your flat. This MOP is computed from the date you purchased the flat.
If you own a subsidized flat, the standard MOP is five years. For those who purchased a resale flat without a housing grant and completed the purchase before the 30th of August 2010, the MOP is three years.
Note that owners are strictly not allowed to lock up a bedroom and rent out the rest of their flat without physically staying in their flat. Yep, HDB has thought of all the possible loopholes, so don’t even try!
Here’s a handy overview of the guidelines for renting out a whole flat, vs subletting a room:
|Renting out a flat||Subletting room(s)|
|HDB approval required.||
HDB approval required, and the owner(s) have to personally stay in the flat.
Must register tenant with HDB within 7 days.
|Subject to MOP of 5 years.||
|Non-citizen quota applies (8% at neighborhood level, 11% at block level).||
No non-citizen quota
As mentioned earlier, if you own a one-room or two-room flat, your only choice is to rent out your entire flat -- you can’t rent out specific bedrooms.
If you own a three-room flat or bigger, however, you have the choice of renting out your entire flat OR your bedrooms.
On top of that, homeowners may not rent out their living rooms, household shelters or utility rooms. (Yes, we all use our bomb shelters as storerooms, but we should still keep these reasonably empty in the case of an emergency).
Finally, subletting your flat without HDB approval is not allowed. Gotta let the government know before you start looking for tenants! 👀
Applications to rent out bedrooms can be submitted online via HDB’s e-services.
As HDB states, those who are renting out their HDB flats will have to adhere to the Non-Citizen Quota for the Renting Out of Flat.
This quota is imposed upon all non-citizens (including PRs and foreigners), except Malaysians.
The quota is currently set at 8% at the neighbourhood level and 11% at the block level, and if the quota has been reached, this means that you’ll only be able to rent your flat to a Singaporean or Malaysian tenant. The quota does not apply to landlords who are renting out selected bedrooms.
To check if the HDB rental quota has been met in your neighbourhood, use HDB’s enquiry e-Service.
According to HDB, the minimum rental period for each tenant is six months per application.
If you’re wondering why you can’t rent out your flat for a shorter period of time, it’s because this may “disrupt the living environment and pose security concerns for residents.” Bummer.
Here’s a handy overview of the min/max lease terms that you’ll have to adhere to:
The answer is a conditional yes -- so, yes, but subject to certain requirements.
Basically, you can accommodate a maximum number of six unrelated occupants in your property. Domestic caregivers hired by your family are considered part of your family unit, so they don’t count towards the quota.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s break it down with specific examples:
Example #1: If you have four people in your family, you can rent out a bedroom, and have two more tenants stay with you.
Example #2: If you have five people in your family, AND a domestic worker, your domestic worker doesn’t take up an extra headcount. You can rent out a bedroom to one tenant, to bring your total count up to six.
Note that it’s also possible for you to rent your entire unit to a family of more than six, since they don’t fall into the category of “unrelated occupants.”
Example #3: If you’re renting out your entire unit to a family, and there’s no subletting involved, you can have a family of up to six members stay in your home.
Nope -- if you’re renting out your condo, the minimum lease that’s allowed in Singapore is three months. This means no renting to tourists, and definitely no Airbnbs.
What other questions do you have about property rentals in Singapore? Let us know in the comments!
Cherie is a freelance writer for various online publications and blogs about food, travel, and everything in between.