There are several reasons why one would wish to move to another HDB home. Some are looking for a larger space for a growing family, while others wish to upgrade to an Executive Condominium. Whatever the circumstances, it’s vital to review the Minimum Occupancy Period or “MOP” terms of your HDB property before you sell.
All public housing in Singapore is subject to strict rules, with most HDB properties and HDB estates requiring homeowners to occupy the flat for a certain number of years from the date they initially moved in. Your property could have a five-year MOP or a minimum occupation limit of anywhere up to seven years – which means you’ll need to check the fine print before you sell your flat.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Housing Development Board rules in this area and all the different things flat owners must be aware of when they choose to sell a HDB flat.
What is HDB Minimum Occupation Period MOP?
A HDB MOP or “Minimum Occupancy Period” is a basic restriction requiring HDB homeowners to occupy their flat for a set number of years starting from the date of the initial key collection – which is usually when the MOP begins. The idea behind MOPs is to prevent flat owners from buying residential properties using a CPF housing grant simply to sell them on in the open market for a quick profit shortly after moving in.
In most cases, HDB homeowners who used a CPF housing grant or subsidized HDB loan to purchase their HDB flat will need to comply with a five-year MOP period requiring them to occupy the flat personally for this time limit.
Sometimes, however, the MOP may run for anywhere up to seven years. The table below outlines the typical MOP requirements for different properties and purchasing scenarios:
|Flat Type / Purchase Type
|HDB Flats purchased directly from HDB
|1-Room HDB Resale Flat (bought with CPF Housing Grants)
|2-or-More-Room HDB Resale Flats (bought with CPF Housing Grants)
|2-or-More-Room HDB Resale Flats (bought between 5 March and 29 August 2010 using CPF Grants)
|2-or-More-Room HDB Resale Flats (bought before 5 March 2010 using CPF Housing Money)
|2.5 years if financed with a HDB Loan
1 year if financed with a bank loan and/or no loan at all
|Design, Build and Sell (DBSS) Scheme flat
|Build to Order BTO Flat / Executive Condominiums
|SERS Flats (purchased under the SERS Flat scheme)
|5 / 7 years from the effective date of possession and/or selection of the replacement flat
|HDB Flats (purchased under the Fresh Start Housing scheme)
What HDB Flat and Private Property Restrictions Apply Under MOP?
Let’s take a closer look at the key MOP restrictions to be aware of for each property type:
HDB Flats Purchased From HDB
- Five-year MOP applies
- Five Year MOP applies
- Five-year MOP applies if you have portable SERS rehousing benefits
- Seven-year MOP from date of selection of your replacement flat may apply, or five-year MOP from the date of occupation (whichever is earliest), if not
Resale Flat Purchased from the Open Market with CPF
- Five-year MOP applies.
1-Room Resale Flats Purchased Without CPF
- Unusually, no MOP applies under these circumstances.
2-or-More Room Resale Flats
- Your MOP could range from 1 to 5 years depending on when your application was submitted (see table above for details)
- Flats purchased before 5 March 2010 will differ in terms of MOP depending on how their purchase was originally financed.
HDB Flats Purchased with Fresh Start Housing Scheme
- These property types have an unusually long MOP of up to 20 years.
Can I Sell HDB Flats Even When the HDB Minimum Occupation Period MOP Isn’t Over?
Under certain special conditions, you may be able to sell your flat back to HDB before the MOP period has expired. Such conditions include:
You and your spouse can sell the flat and divide the proceeds in the event of judicial separation or a divorce certificate being issued.
Inability to Repay Your Loan
You may be able to sell your flat before the end of the MOP period if the sole breadwinner of your family is unable to repay the home loan due to death and/or disability. The same applies to terminal illness, with circumstances to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
HDB may permit you to sell your flat and downgrade to a cheaper one if this could help you to avoid bankruptcy.
Loss or Renouncement of Singapore Citizen status
Singapore Citizens who intend to relocate abroad permanently may be able to obtain permission to sell their house and retrieve any CPF money back – but only under extenuating circumstances.
What Can I Do After the Minimum Occupation Period MOP Ends?
Once your Minimum Occupancy Period has ended, all restrictions will effectively come to an end, too. This means that you can now:
Purchase a Private Home in Addition to Your HDB Flat
If you’d like to invest in other residential properties or buy a private property in addition to your HDB flat, there are no restrictions on this once your MOP has ended.
Upgrade to a Private Home or Property
It’s totally fine to sell your home and upgrade to better housing or purchase a private property once your MOP terms have been met.
Relocate and Rent Out Your Whole Flat
If you want to relocate abroad and enjoy renting out your flat while away, you’re now fully entitled to do so.
Sell Your Flat
Feel free to sell your properties as you wish now that you have now fully met the terms of your MOP!
Naturally, before the MOP has run its course, you are forbidden from doing any above. That said, while you must not rent out your whole flat, you are allowed to rent out individual rooms in your property so long as you are still occupying one bedroom yourself at the time of doing so.
I Want to Sell my Flat After the MOP Period – What is EIP and SPR Quota?
Once you’ve fully met the terms of your MOP, you’ll need to ensure you also meet the terms of your Ethnic Integration Quota (EIP) and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) Quota. But what are these? And how do they work? Let’s take a look:
Singapore’s EIP Quota exists to ensure fair integration. There needs to be a fair mix of ethnic groups occupying all HDB estates – the same ethnic group cannot occupy every property. Consult HDB’s website here for more details.
Likewise, this is also to do with fair integration. You will not be able to sell any HDB flats that might cause an imbalance to Singapore Permanent Resident numbers in the neighbourhood. You can find out more about SPR and EIP restrictions here.
Frequently Asked Questions About HDB Flats and MOP
Why is MOP Important?
Anyone who owns a HDB property or has used a HDB loan or housing grant to subsidize part of the purchase cost of their home could be affected by MOP limitations.
It’s important to determine whether this affects you before you decide to sell any HDB flats or properties that are in your possession, as selling a HDB home without fulfilling MOP requirements will only ever be permitted for people with very specific extenuating circumstances.
How Can I Check the MOP on My HDB Flat?
You can use your SingPass to log in to the My HDBPage website and determine your HDB MOP period quickly and easily. Simply follow “My Flat > Purchased Flat > Flat Details > Minimum Occupation Period” once you have logged in to do this.
What is the Minimum Rental Period for HDB Flats?
Here in Singapore, the minimum rental period for HDB flats is currently six months.
Can I Rent Out or Sell My HDB Flat Before the Five Year Limit?
No, you are not permitted to rent out your whole flat. That said, you are allowed to rent out individual rooms in your HDB property provided your flat has three or more rooms, and you continue to occupy one room yourself while you rent it to others.
As for selling your HDB home before the MOP is up, this is only possible in the event of divorce, bankruptcy proceedings, terminal illness, and other very serious circumstances only.
Final Thoughts – HDB Minimum Occupation Period is Very Important
The rules governing MOP are very important, and all HDB Flat owners need to be aware of them. If you are thinking of selling any HDB flats anytime soon, don’t forget to:
- Determine your MOP period beforehand
- Ensure you have fulfilled the MOP terms
- Consider how selling might affect your EIP and/or SPR Quota
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