Changes to Housing Developers Act to improve safeguards for private home buyers

Changes to Housing Developers Act to improve safeguards for private home buyers
A young couple looking at models of HDB flats.

SINGAPORE - Amendments to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act and subsidiary legislation will take effect from May 2015 to improve safeguards and provide more information to prospective purchasers of private residential properties.

In April 2013, Parliament approved amendments to the act to improve and update legislative safeguards for buyers of uncompleted private residential properties.

The changes will enhance market transparency by providing the public with more comprehensive and timelier information on the private residential property market. It will also enable prospective home buyers to make better-informed purchasing decisions.

Since then, the Ministry of National Development (MND) has worked on the subsidiary legislation, the Housing Developers Rules, to effect these policy changes. The effort includes the implementation of a new set of rules on show units, the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules.

MND said in a press statement that the legislative amendments, which were finalised through a series of consultations with members of the public and industry stakeholders, are now ready to take effect.

Weekly collection and publication of transaction data

From May 25, housing developers must submit detailed transaction information to the Controller of Housing every week. This information will include sales volumes and transacted prices of individual units in their building projects, and the value of any benefits extended to buyers.

Developers will be required to submit this information to the Controller within five days of the end of each preceding week. This information will be published on the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website weekly from June 5.

More comprehensive information in transaction documents

The Option to Purchase and Sale & Purchase Agreement, which are standard forms prescribed under the Housing Developers Rules, will also be amended to enhance the safeguards for purchasers of private residential properties. For example, developers must indicate the value of any benefits offered to buyers.

The amendments to both forms will take effect on July 20. This is to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the amendments.

Ensuring the accuracy of show units

MND is introducing the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules to ensure that all show units provided by developers are accurate depictions of housing units offered for sale.

For example, one rule requires the floor area of the show unit to be the same as that of the actual housing unit. Another rule requires all external and structural walls to be built in the actual unit to be depicted in the show unit.

These Rules will take effect on July 20 to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the new requirements.

debwong@sph.com.sg

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