What are the obstacles facing a divorcee buying HDB flat?
Tomoe Suzuki’s letter was recently published in the Straits Times forum page. In Ms Suzuki’s words, “it is the presence of the legal and policy distinctions between single/ unmarried parents and the traditional family nucleus that imposes tremendous costs on the state and society”.
Ms Suzuki further opined that single parents “have many obstacles to surmount in order to have housing.”
See: Tomoe Suzuki, “Non-traditional families are different, not ‘broken’”, The Straits Times, 13 October 2017
In many ways, this is true and this is a tricky issue.
Issues facing a divorcee buying HDB flat
- If either party is above the age of 35, there is a possibility that either can take over their existing matrimonial HDB flat under the Singles Citizen Scheme. The person taking over the HDB flat would usually have to take over the outstanding mortgage loan and pay the other party a sum of money to take over his/ her share. The financial burden can be heavy. (Note: it is possible for parties to agree that no CPF refund and cash consideration is to be paid to the transferor from the transferee).
- If both parties are under the age of 35, it is still possible for one party to take over the flat, provided that the party taking over has care and control of the children of the marriage.
- In the event that options 1 and 2 are not feasible, the flat may have to be sold in the open market within 6 to 9 months from the divorce, or surrendered to HDB if the flat is under its Mandatory Occupancy Period of 5 years.
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