Owners fined $45,000 for violating HDB rental rules

The HDB notified a couple in February 2020 of their violation of the MOP when they purchased a private property within the prohibition period. They could lose their flat or face hefty fines.

The penalty was $45,000 payable as a lump sum by cashier’s check.

The agent, who had wrongly told a couple that their child could purchase an extra home in trust during the flat’s MOP, was found guilty of not conducting his business or work with care.

HDB caught up to 150 flat owners who invested in private homes between 2018 and 2020, despite the fact that they had only lived in their flats less than five years.

They were told by their agent that the property could be purchased by placing it on trust for a child. The agent also assured them that they would not violate HDB rules as the child would own the property.

The couple was unaware that the agent had given them inaccurate information. HDB rules say that an owner under MOP is not allowed to buy a private property, even for the purpose of holding it on trust.

The websites of relevant agencies offer information about the HDB flats available for rent and purchase, as well as the stamp duty payable on property investments.

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All owners should check all relevant rules when dealing with valuable assets so they don’t become totally ignorant and fall prey to agents who do not do their homework.

Unaware of this, the couple purchased a condominium. The developer employed another agent who earned half of the sales commission.

Many were ignorant, or estate agents misled them into believing that there were no restrictions for trust scheme purchases because they weren’t buying the property for themselves.

In one such case, after only living in their HDB flats for three years, a married couple wanted to buy a private house even though they weren’t allowed to until two more years.

He was suspended from work for six months, and ordered to pay $10,000 penalty and legal expenses.

You can pay a steep price for something that could have been avoided if your checks were done.

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