Flat sharing With Other Expats

To take part in an HDB rental flat, you have to be a Singapore resident or a non-citizen who holds an employment pass. Tourists to the country are not allowed to rent an HDB flat. While tourists can’t rent a flat, they can sublet or share the flat with other subtenants.

Regulations for Sublets 

The Housing & Development Board is very strict about the people they’ll allow to sublet their apartments. While owners of the flat are allowed to sublet, there are restrictions and guidelines that must be followed.

The government wants to make sure that the neighbourhoods are diverse with a mix of ethnicities. Once the quota for ethnicities is met in a neighbourhood, the flat can only be rented to residents of Singapore.


Rental Period for Expats 

Apartments for rent in Singapore have other regulations as well. If you’re renting an apartment with other expats, you’ll need to rent the apartment for at least six months but no more than 1 1/2 years. You’ll need to have a work permit to rent an HDB flat without subletting the space from a current owner.

Amount of Flatmates 

If you’d like to rent or sublet with a number of other flatmates, you’re allowed a certain amount depending on the number of rooms in the flat. For one- and two-room flats, only 4 subtenants are allowed. For a three-room flat, 6 tenants are allowed. If the flat is 4 rooms or more, there are 9 subtenants allowed.


Disputes and Agreements 

When subletting from a current owner, you should ask for documents that provide proof that the person is the owner of the flat as they claim. If you’re renting the entire flat to yourself, make sure the owner has the right to do that. They should have a printout of confirmation from the HDB.

Along with the confirmation, you’ll need to know the terms and conditions of the rental. The rental amount and deposits for the flat should be negotiated between the owner and the renter, which has nothing to do with the HDB.

Any disputes between the owner and the subtenants have to be resolved between the parties. The forfeiture of deposits, rental amounts and tenancy termination are negotiated between owner and subtenant. It’s recommended that everything is in writing between the parties, and you receive receipts for any money exchanged between parties.

Choosing a Flatmate 

You could have your own choice of flatmates if you rent out the entire apartment and screen the person that will live with you. On the other hand, you might only be renting a room. In that case, the choice of flatmate is chosen by the owner of the flat.

If you’re only renting a room in this person’s apartment, you won’t be able to find a roommate that fits with your personality or schedule. This might not matter to you if you’re working or spending all day outside of the flat.

To get the best flatmate, you should rent the entire unit and talk to the owner about screening candidates together to get the best fit.

Be sure you understand the rules and regulations that govern the rental of flats in Singapore, so you won’t be swindled by a con artist who is renting out flats that they don’t own.