SINGAPORE: The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will remove its three-year time-bar policy for divorcees to buy subsidised flats, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 6).
Speaking during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Mr Wong noted that some MPs have asked if the Government can help divorcees make a smoother housing transition, for the benefit of their children.
The Government is also mindful, he said, that there is a “diverse range of home-buyers”, including second-timers, singles, divorcees and single unmarried parents.
In a joint press release giving more details of the change, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB explained that currently, only one party of a divorced couple can buy or own a subsidised flat within three years from the date of their divorce.
But with effect from Tuesday (Mar 6), both parties in the divorce would be able to buy or own a subsidised flat each upon divorce, as long as they are each able to meet the eligibility conditions for flat purchase.
In his speech, Mr Wong outlined the various ways HDB has provided advice to families on their post-divorce housing options, to make their housing transition smoother.
For example, the ASSIST scheme gives them priority when applying for a 2- or 3-room Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in non-mature estates. HDB also offers rental housing to those in need, including those who need help to tide over a protracted or acrimonious divorce, he said.
But he noted that the time bar rule is one issue divorcees may face.
“We hope that this will help divorced persons provide a more conducive living environment for their children, and go some way to help families through an already difficult period of transition,” he said.