Public housing in Singapore | Detailed Pedia

Public housing in Singapore | Detailed Pedia

Public housing in Singapore [note 1] is managed by the state Housing and Development Board (HDB) under a 99-year lease. [1] The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed, and home to approximately 80% of the resident population. [2] These flats are located in housing estates, which are self-contained satellite towns with well-maintained schools, supermarkets, malls, community hospitals, clinics, hawker centres (food court) and sports and recreational facilities. Every housing estate includes MRT stations and bus stops that link residents to other parts of the city-state. Some estates are also complemented by smaller LRT stations which act as a feeder service to the MRT.

As compared to most parts of the world, public housing in Singapore is not ostracised by a wide majority of the population and its government, and acts as a necessary and vital measure to provide immaculate and safe housing surrounded by public amenities at affordable prices, especially during its rapid development and industrialisation in the early years of independence. It is also meant to foster social cohesion between social classes and races of Singapore, and prevent neglected areas or districts and ethnic enclaves from developing. As such, it is considered a unique part of Singaporean culture and identity, being commonly associated with the country. [4] [5]

There are a large variety of flat types and layouts which cater to various housing budgets. HDB flats were built in mind to primarily provide affordable housing for Singaporeans and their purchase can be financially aided by the Central Provident Fund in addition to various grants. [6] Due to changing demands, HDB introduced the Design, Build and Sell Scheme to produce up-market public housing developments.

New public housing flats are strictly only eligible for purchase by Singaporean citizens. The housing schemes and grants available to finance the purchase of a flat are also only extended to households owned by Singaporeans, while permanent residents do not get any housing grants or subsidies from the Singaporean government and could only purchase resale flats from the secondary market at a market price. Such policies have helped Singapore reach a home-ownership rate of 91%, one of the highest in the world. [7] In 2008, Singapore was lauded by the United Nations Habitat’s State of the World’s Cities report as the only slum-free city in the world. [8]



Since the founding of modern Singapore, housing in the fledgling colony has been concentrated in the city centre, where the early town plans have stipulated ethnic-based districts built on both sides of the Singapore River. Housing in the city was primarily in the form of shophouses where multiple families would live in confined spaces. Housing in the suburban areas was often in the form of either traditional Chinese, Malay and Indian villages (Kampongs) or large estates and mansions owned by richer locals.

SIT under British colonial rule

By the 1920s, chronic housing conditions in downtown Singapore prompted the British colonial government to establish the Singapore Improvement Trust in 1927 to build affordable public housing for the common population of Singapore. The first forms of mass-built public housing thus appeared in Singapore. Still, neglect and lack of funding by the British meant that the SIT managed to only build 23,000 housing units in its 32 years of existence, and was unable to resolve the worsening housing shortage problem.

Low construction rates and massive damage from World War II further exacerbated the housing shortage. In 1947, the British Housing Committee Report noted Singapore had “one of the world’s worst slums – ‘a disgrace to a civilised community'” and the average person per building density was 18.2 by 1947 and high-rise buildings were uncommon. In 1959, the problem of shortage still remained a serious problem. An HDB paper estimated that in 1966, 300,000 people lived in squatter settlements in the suburbs and 250,000 lived in squalid shophouses in the Central Area. [10]

HDB post independence

In 1959, in its election campaign, the People’s Action Party (PAP) recognised that housing required urgent attention and pledged that it would provide low-cost housing for the poor and middle class if it was elected. When it won the elections and formed the new government, it took immediate action to solve the housing shortage. The SIT was also changed to the HDB. The PAP has remained in power ever since.

In February 1960, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) was established to develop public housing and improve the quality of the living environment for its residents. Led by Lim Kim San, its first priority during formation was to build as many low-cost housing units as possible in a Five-Year Building Programme, from 1960 to 1965. The housing that was initially built was mostly just meant for rental by the low-income group.

In 1964, the Home Ownership Scheme was also introduced to help citizens to buy instead of renting their flats. Four years later, the government decided to allow people to use their Central Provident Fund savings as a downpayment. However, these efforts were not successful enough then in convincing the people living in the squatter settlements to move into these flats.

It was after 25 May 1961, the day of the Bukit Ho Swee fire, that HDB’s efficiency and earnestness won the people over.

The HDB estimated that from 1959 to 1969, an average of 147,000 housing units—80,000 from the current deficit, 20,000 due to the redevelopment of the Central Area, and 47,000 due to population increase—would need to be constructed; an average of about 14,000 a year. However, the private sector only had the ability to provide 2500 per year, and at price levels out of reach of the low-income. [10] The HDB set out to resolve the deficit. Between 1960 and 1965, the HDB built 54,430 housing units. Due to land constraints, high-rise and high-density flats were chosen. By 1965, HDB was able to overcome the worst of the housing shortage by providing low-cost housing to the lower-income group within the planned period of five years.

Several reasons contributed to the success of the HDB. Firstly, the HDB received very strong support from the government, and itself from the people, which allocated a large number of funds to public housing. The HDB was also equipped with legal powers such as the power to resettle squatters. Lim Kim San, the first chairman of the HDB, played a key role in its success.

Other providers of public housing

Beside HDB, a small number of flats were built in 1964–1968 by Economic Development Board (EDB) and its successor Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) from 1968 to the late 1970s, in Jurong and Sembawang industrial areas. [ citation needed ]

Middle income housing

From 1974 to 1982, the Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) built and marketed sandwich housing for middle-income people who did not qualify for HDB flats but could not afford a private property. HDB took over JTC and HUDC in 1982, becoming the sole provider of public housing in Singapore, continued building HUDC flats up to 1986. [ citation needed ]

Executive Condominiums

In 1999, the HDB started building executive condominiums, also referred to as EC’s. These are public housing units and estates aimed at Singaporeans who do not want a HDB flat but might find private property too expensive. The idea to construct such housing was first mooted in 1995 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong who wanted to provide public housing that was more up-market than the executive flats. [11]

Physical organisation

Towns and estates

The first public housing built was in SIT Estates, usually located just outside the fringe of Central Singapore, such as Tiong Bahru in the Bukit Merah area. SIT estates also appeared in Queenstown such as the Princess Margaret Estate where construction began in July 1952. In SIT’s early plans for the Estate, the new town planning concept was evident with their plans to build housing estates around a commercial centre. [12]

When the HDB took over in 1960, they fully adopted the new town planning concept on a large scale, building partial towns from scratch in locations all around Singapore. Queenstown thus became the SIT’s model of its version of a New Town, and they developed this further in Toa Payoh which was the first town to be built entirely from the ground up by the HDB. Initially, gigantic developments, sometimes known as Minicities, were built in areas in the city centre, Changi Point, Lim Chu Kang, Farrer Park and Seletar, and in larger areas such as in Bukit Timah and Marine Parade.

These have since been halted in favour of concentrating public housing developments only in minor HDB towns. Over the years, the HDB began to reorganise the larger estates and amalgamate them into “HDB Towns”, as has been done in Bukit Merah, Geylang and Kallang/Whampoa, while Bukit Timah and Marine Parade remained as estates. Simei, sometimes referred to as an estate and a new town, has since been amalgamated into Tampines. There are now officially 23 “HDB Towns” and three “Other Estates”.

While most towns are compact and are contiguous, some towns, especially those incorporating existing developments and the reorganised estates may appear scattered. Two of the best examples of discontinuous new towns built over existing developments include Bishan and Serangoon. Hougang also has significant areas of non-public housing use. The reorganised “new towns” of Bukit Merah, Geylang and Kallang/Whampoa are similarly fractured in some places. On the other end of the scale, Jurong East, Jurong West, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun have very little private housing and no landed properties, while towns like Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, and Woodlands have only small pockets of landed properties.

Based on the new town concept, each HDB town is designed to be self-sustainable. Helmed by a hierarchy of commercial developments, ranging from a town centre to precinct-level outlets, there is no need to venture out of town to meet the most common needs of residences. Employment can be found in industrial estates located within several towns. Educational, health care, transport and recreational needs are also provided for with schools, hospitals, parks, sports complexes, mass rapid transit and so forth.

HDB towns are typically sub-divided into neighbourhoods, with most neighbourhoods served by a neighbourhood commercial centre. Depending on the size of the town, there can be as many as nine neighbourhoods, to as little as two. Except for the older towns, estates and consolidated towns, most towns use the first digit of their block numbers to indicate the neighbourhood in which the block is located in.

Each neighbourhood is in turn composed of multiple precincts, which are built on the concept of promoting communal exchanges and which are more secure. While older precincts may merely involve dividing rows of identical blocks in relatively close proximity without any other real interaction with each other, newer precincts are designed to physically envelop a common space, or centred around some kind of communal facility such as a multi-storey carpark. While precinct boundaries may be difficult to physically distinguish in older precincts, they are usually obvious in newer precincts through the physical layout of the block and their unique architectural design. Newer precincts (and upgraded older precincts) also often adopt fanciful names reminiscent of private developments to lend an air of class and belonging, although these names are often not used in reality since they are sometimes not displayed and are not part of official addresses.


Public housing precincts in Singapore are clusters of public housing blocks arranged as a single unit. Comprising an average of 10 blocks per precinct, they are collectively grouped into up to nine neighbourhoods per new town.


The Housing and Development Board, the sole public housing planner, designer and builder in the city-state, adopted the precinct concept in 1978, based on its understanding that social interaction and community bonding can be optimised in a smaller planning unit compared to a full neighbourhood. In addition, precincts are expected to evoke a stronger sense of security, although they are not physically fenced, and do not restrict movements for residents or outsiders in any physical way.

Tampines thus became the first new town to be planned according to this model in 1980. This concept persisted in subsequent application of the model in other towns through to the present, although some modifications are noted, particularly in terms of precinct size and physical configuration. The increased usage of multi-storey carparks also allow flexibility in the provision of open spaces for each precinct, and the configuration of blocks to separate human and vehicular traffic.

While older new towns were not built according to the precinct concept, they were, nonetheless, often planned and built in batches otherwise similar to precincts. Major town redevelopment and upgrading plans such as the Main Upgrading Programme and the Interim Upgrading Programme in older estates such as in Queenstown, Toa Payoh, and Bukit Merah from the 1920s has involved the enhancement of the precinct concept, including the physical upgrading to collective groups of blocks, re-configuration of public spaces around them, and often includes the christening of names to these estates. In other cases, old groups of blocks are completely demolished and rebuilt under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, accelerating the evolution of these towns towards the precinct concept.


Each public housing block is considered a vertical community, with a common area built into the design to promote social interaction. Void decks, a term unique to Singapore, refers to the first level which are often left devoid of housing units, hence the word “void”. These open, sheltered spaces are intentionally left empty to provide convenient spaces for communal activities such as weddings, funerals, parties, bazaars and polling stations during general elections. Older blocks would feature a single stand-alone shop, often referred to as “Mamashops” to provide convenient doorstep service. Other common permanent facilities built-in void decks may include Residential Committee facilities and offices, kindergartens, medical centres, Neighbourhood police centres (NPC), fire posts and so on.

Also common especially in older flats are the common corridors, some of which may run across the length of slab blocks. Considered public property, they have rules preventing homeowners from occupying and restricting movement, with the exception of units at far ends of corridors who may purchase and incorporate parts of the corridor into their units from the HDB. While these corridors are welcome for being the default interaction areas for neighbours and their children, and the added sense of security due to their open-nature, issues of privacy can crop up, resulting in more contemporary blocks featuring far fewer units per corridor. Larger units such as 5-room flats are also commonly housed in “Point blocks”, which feature only four units per floor.

The slanting roofs of several blocks in Potong Pasir were considered revolutionary and became instant landmarks for the estate to this day. Today, HDB blocks tend to amalgamate the point and slab block designs, featuring taller blocks but with slightly more units of about 6–8 units per floor. New blocks nowadays tend to be around 40-storeys high. As of 2010, The [email protected] , is the highest HDB flat in Singapore, with seven connected 50-storey towers, totalling to 1,848 units.

The façades of public housing blocks have also evolved over time. While the SIT blocks occasionally featured Art Deco designs, the first HDB blocks were typically brutalist. After the initial rush to mass-build flats in the 1960s however, varying façades began to appear in subsequent decades, initially only through subtle variations such as coloured tiles, but which became full-scaled multi-coloured paintwork complete with bright motifs from the 1990s. After several elaborate designs, some of which subsequently presented logistical headaches during maintenance, more subdued and contemporary designs began to emerge from the 2000s, and by 2010s some designs has been considered on par or even better than some private condominiums.


Up to 80% of Singapore’s population live in HDB flats. HDB Flats in Singapore are sold on a 99-year lease agreement. The remainder is rental flats which are reserved for those who are unable to afford to purchase the cheapest forms of public housing despite financial support, or the homeless.

Quota system

Singapore maintains a quota system of ethnicities through the Ethnic Integration Policy. [13] By ensuring that each block of units is sold to families from ethnicities roughly comparable to the national average, it seeks to avoid physical racial segregation and formation of ethnic enclaves common in other multi-racial societies.

Partly in response to public sentiment against the alleged formation of “permanent resident enclaves”, where some flats appeared dominated by permanent residents from a single nationality, the HDB introduced the Singapore Permanent Resident Quota which took effect on 5 March 2010. Permanent residents were subject to a cap of 5% of the households per block in every housing estate. [14]

Types of flats

New flats

The primary acquisition avenue is through the purchase of new flats directly from the HDB. Over the years, various forms of sale programmes has been in place, with the current mode of sale known as the Build-To-Order (HDB) programme launched in 2001. This is run alongside the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise which handles the sale of balance flats from earlier BTO exercises, unsold SERS replacement flats and flats which were repossessed by the HDB. The sale of EC and DBSS flats are conducted separately by the respective private developers.

Under the current sales schemes, successful applicants for new BTO flats typically have to wait several years before moving in while the flats were built, since the commencement of construction can only occur when the BTO successfully attains 65

70% sales. Applicants who wish to move in immediately or earlier thus have to participate in the SBF exercise (although some flats may still be under construction) or go for Resale Flats.

HDB Sale of Flats programmes

Programmes Abbrev Start End Remarks
Registration for flat RFS 1980s Feb 2002 Any surplus units from BTOs, balance BEs or
HDB buy-back schemes through balloting method
Walk-in Selection WIS Mar 2002 Feb 2008
Sale of Balance Flats SBF Apr 2007
Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme SERS Aug 2016 Buying a new flat as replacement for a flat in a block selected for redevelopment
Balloting Exercise BE Aug 1995 Only available for initial large surplus units of SERS
Build to Order BTO Apr 2001 Buying a new flat built by HDB with a waiting period of 4 years
Design, Build and Sell Scheme DBSS Oct 2006 Buying a new flat build by private developer and maintained by HDB as public housing
Executive Condominium EC Jan 1999 Buying a new condominium built by private developer and sold under eligibility conditions similar with public housing

There are a number of eligibility conditions in order for a flat to be purchased. A buyer must be a Singaporean citizen, or permanent resident and be 21 years of age and have a family. Singles below 35-years of age, and non-citizens are not allowed to purchase new HDB flats. Other requirements concern household status, time requirements, income and other special requirements. [15] The apartment flats are typically sold on a 99-year lease.

Eligibility to Acquire New Flats

New HDB flat New DBSS flat New EC New 2-Room Flexi Flat
Citizenship Applicant: Citizen
Family nucleus: At least another citizen or permanent resident
Applicant: Citizen
Joint Applicant (if any): Related must be a Citizen; Non-related must be citizen or permanent resident
Age 21 years old 21 years old (35 for joint singles) 55 years old (Joint Applicant, if any: Related=21 years old; Non-related=35 years old
Family nucleus Any of the following combinations:
• Applicant+Spouse+Children (if any)
• Applicant+Parents+Siblings (if any)
• Widowed/divorced applicant+Children under legal custody
• Applicant+fiancé/fiancée
• Orphaned applicant+unmarried siblings
Any of the following combinations:
• Applicant+Spouse+Children (if any)
• Applicant+Parents+Siblings (if any)
• Widowed/divorced applicant+Children under legal custody
• Applicant+fiancé/fiancée
• Orphaned applicant+unmarried siblings
• Orphaned applicant+single unrelated orphan
• Single applicant+another single person
• Applicant+Spouse
• Unmarried, divorced or widowed applicant
Gross monthly household income ceiling 2-room (non-mature towns/estates): $2,500
2-room (mature towns/estates): $6,000
3-room (non-mature towns and estates): $6,000
3-room (mature towns and estates/Premium), 4-room and above (all estates): $12,000 ($18,000 for extended families)
$12,000 ($18,000 for extended families) $14,000 with tiered subsidies $12,000

With effect from 24 August 2015, the HDB revised upwards the monthly household income ceiling for the purchase of new flats from $10,000 to $12,000. [16] The $10,000 and $8,000 income ceilings were implemented on 15 August 2011 [17] and 1994, [18] respectively.

Those are the priority schemes available when applying for a flat from HDB: [19]

Priority Schemes available [20] ㄑ

Type of flat Type of scheme
New flats from HDB Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS)
Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS)
Third-Child Priority (TCP) Scheme
Tenants Priority Scheme (TPS)
Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS)
Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/Widowed Parents) [ASSIST]
Senior Priority Scheme (SPS)
DBSS Flats from Developers Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS)
Third-Child Priority (TCP) Scheme
Executive Condominium (EC) from Developers Priority Schemes are not applicable for Executive Condominium.

From July 2013, two new groups had been allowed to purchase flats directly from HDB. The first group is single Singaporeans aged 35 and above with an average monthly income not more than $5,000. The other group is Singaporean-Foreigner couples. However the flat type that both groups can buy is restricted to two-room HDB flats in non-mature estates. [21]

Resale flats

Existing flat owners are allowed to sell their flats on the open market to any eligible buyer at a mutually agreed price. While the HDB does not regulate these prices, the buyer and seller must declare the true resale price to the HDB. In addition, most flat owners may only sell their flat if they have met the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) requirement, which was introduced to help reduce speculative activities. In 2010, these requirements were lengthened to help cool the heated property market at that time.

Minimum Occupation Period [22]

Flat type MOP
1-Room/HUDC flat Nil
Direct-purchase HDB/DBSS/Subsidised Resale Flat 5 years from date of purchase
SERS flat With portable SERS rehousing benefits: 5 years from date of purchase
Without portable SERS rehousing benefits: 7 years from the date of selection; 5 years from the date of purchase
Non-subsidised Resale Flat 1–5 years from the date of resale dependent on-sale date and type of loan taken (if any)

Under the current sales schemes, successful applicants for new BTO flats typically have to wait several years before moving in while the flats were built, since the commencement of construction can only occur when the BTO successfully attains 65

70% sales. Applicants who wish to move in immediately or earlier thus have to participate in the SBF exercise (although some flats may still be under construction) or go for Resale Flats.

HDB Sale of Flats programmes

Programmes Abbrev Start End Remarks
Registration for flat RFS 1980s Feb 2002 Any surplus units from BTOs, balance BEs or
HDB buy-back schemes through balloting method
Walk-in Selection WIS Mar 2002 Feb 2007
Sale of balance flats E-Sale Apr 2007
Balloting exercise BE Aug 1995 Only available for initial large surplus units of SERS
Build to order (HDB) BTO Apr 2001 Buying a new flat with a waiting period of 4 years
Design, Build and Sell Scheme DBSS Oct 2006 Buying a new condominium design flat build by private developer

Buyers are also subject to a set of eligibility conditions.

Eligibility to Buy Resale Flats [23]

Condition Public Scheme Fiancé(e) Scheme Single Singapore Citizen Scheme Joint Singles Scheme Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme Non-Citizen Family Scheme Orphans Scheme Conversion Scheme
Citizenship Applicant: Citizen
Family nucleus: At least another citizen or PR
Applicant and fiancé(e): Citizen or PR Applicant: Citizen Applicant: Citizen
Unmarried sibling: Citizen or PR
Applicant: Citizen
Family nucleus: At least another citizen or PR
Age 21 years old Singles/Divorcees: 35 years old
Widowed/Orphan: 21 years old
Spouse’s social visit pass >6 months:21 years old
Spouse’s social visit pass <6 months:35 years old
21 years old
Family nucleus Any of the following combinations:
• Applicant+Spouse+Children (if any)
• Applicant+Parents+Siblings (if any)
• Widowed/divorced applicant+Children under legal custody
Applicant+fiancé(e) Applicant only Applicant+up to three other single joint applicants Applicant+non-citizen spouse Any of the following combinations:
• Applicant+non-citizen parents+non-citizen siblings (if any)
• Widowed/divorced applicant+non-citizen children under legal custody
Orphaned applicant+unmarried siblings Any of the following combinations:
• Applicant+Spouse+Children (if any)
• Applicant+Parents+Siblings (if any)
• Widowed/divorced applicant+Children under legal custody
Gross monthly household income ceiling No income ceiling unless applying for CPF Housing Grant and/or an HDB Loan

Pricing and cost

Pricing of public housing flats is typically cheaper than privately built developments. For example, an HDB 4-room flat depending on age, environment and surrounding amenities can have a sale value of between S$200,000 to above S$300,000 and an HUDC Executive maisonette above S$500,000. However, in contrast a privately developed condominium type housing can cost as much as S$1,000,000 and above.

land-based pricing approach

According to Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, HDB pays market rate for its land and construction cost for public housing and that it incurs a housing deficit because it prices the flats below market rate. [24]

Asset enhancement policy

The Government implemented market pricing and the asset enhancement policy for public housing in the late 1980s. The aim of this programme was to allow heartlanders a chance at enjoying the appreciation of their HDB flat – which is a key asset for most of them. The programme led to more than 10 fold increase in the price of HDB flats in the next 30 years. [25]

When Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister in 1991, he introduced the “asset enhancement” programme. This entailed upgrading of public housing flats in constituencies that are most supportive of the People’s Action Party (PAP) during an election. This, in turn, would increase the value of the voters’ flat, resulting in a potential windfall when they sell it. [26]

As a result, the opposition-held housing estates of Potong Pasir and Hougang had no upgrading for close to 30 years. The PAP government was criticised for abusing state resources to achieve partisan political objective, giving PAP MPs an unfair advantage over the opposition candidates. The purpose of the vote is reduced to a question of whether one wanted upgrading. [26] [ better source needed ]

In the lead up to 2011 General Election, the Workers’ Party proposed pegging the price of new HDB flats to the median incomes of households that qualify to buy them, rather than to resale market prices because flat prices are too high and would be a financial burden for younger generations of Singaporeans. Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan criticised WP’s housing proposals, claiming that it would devalue existing flats and the WP was against upgrading programmes and that lowering land costs to lower flat prices amounts to an illegal raid on Singapore’s reserves. WP chief Low Thia Khiang countered that his party is not against upgrading as it is the duty of a responsible government to improve Singaporeans living conditions. But the asset enhancement policy is more than just upgrading as it involves benefiting from the sale of a flat which runs counter to the government’s policy of owning a home. Low explained that Mah’s accusation that WP’s proposals amounted to raiding the reserves had no grounds given that the Grow & Share package to distribute budget surplus works in a similar manner. [27]

Speaking at the launch of Tanjong Pagar GRC’s 5-year Master Plan on 19 March 2011, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said, “85% of Singaporeans are living in HDB flats and we intend to keep the values of these homes up. It will never go down”, reaffirming the PAP government’s policy of asset enhancement. [28]

On 23 March 2017, responding to a news report over astronomical prices of several short-lease HDB resale flats, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong cautioned home buyers that only 4% of the flats have been identified for Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) where the state buys back these flats at market rate and offers affected residents discounted new units at another location. He added that for the vast majority of flats, the leases will expire and the flats will be returned to the HDB, which will in turn have to surrender the land to the state. [29]

On 3 April 2018, a retiree wrote into The Straits Times forum highlighting the plight of senior citizens who are unable to monetize their old flats for retirement needs as prices came down after Wong’s revelation. [30]

Maintaining the government’s stance on asset enhancement, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “It enables every Singaporean to share in our economic growth, because as the economy grows, so will the value of your home. And nearly every household has a substantial asset to its name, even low-income households.” [31]

Maintenance and renewal

Maintenance of the HDB’s approximately 900,000 units largely falls under the Town Councils, which are not part of the HDB but which are formed under the Town Councils Act primarily with the purpose of maintaining the common areas of HDB flats and estates. Common areas would include the common corridors, void decks, lifts, water tanks, external lighting and the open spaces surrounding the estates, which are managed, maintained and improved on by the respective Town Councils. These Town Councils are formed by the respective political constituencies and do not necessarily follow HDB Town boundaries, hence a single HDB Town may be managed by multiple Town Councils.

Rental flats, on the other hand, are maintained directly by the HDB to ensure serviceability for the next occupant. The HDB is also the direct authority overseeing home renovation works, whereby while home owners engage third-party contractors, the HDB imposes strict renovation rules to ensure no structural damage and adherence to noise control during renovation works. The HDB also approves renovation contractor registrations to enforce quality control.

Large-scale improvement works to existing public housing developments were carried out in the form of various programmes under the Estate Renewal Strategy, beginning with the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) since 1990. These help to bring common facilities up to standards with newer developments, and in some cases, to offer some improvements to individual units, such as the addition of reinforced bomb shelters which can double-up as an additional room during non-emergency periods.

To date, close to 800 precincts has benefited from these schemes. While the majority of precincts were improved upon, some precincts were completely redeveloped under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme to better maximise the use of land. As 2016, 80 sites has been affected since the Scheme was introduced in 1995, affecting over 33,000 residential units. [32]

vision panels and infra-red doors with motion safety sensors for added energy efficiency, safety and security

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