Promote dual-key apartments for seniors

Dual-key apartments have an entrance for the main apartment and one for an adjoining studio unit. The studio unit can be rented out to supplement the income of the family.

SINGAPORE - Recent survey findings show that the idea of elderly couples subletting their flats has not gained popularity as they fear the loss of privacy and safety ("Only one in 10 seniors rents out room or flat"; June 5).

They fear being bullied or cheated by the tenant. Tenants also prefer the privacy they can get in a studio apartment instead of sharing a room in someone else's home.

There has also been much publicity about the popularity of dual-key apartments recently ("Dual-key, double tenancy"; June 1).

Perhaps it is time to think out of the box and study the advantages of dual-key apartments.

Dual-key apartments have two entrances - one for the main apartment and one for an adjoining studio unit.

The studio unit can later be rented out to supplement the income of the family.

With the concerns and anxieties about our growing ageing population and the implications of the financial burden of this on society, dual-key apartments may find much favour.

Dual-key apartments provide a way for the elderly to utilise their homes as assets to help bring in a steady source of passive income without too much burden on the state.

It is therefore not far-fetched for the Government to look at adding dual-key apartments to the menu of units offered under the Build- To-Order and Design, Build and Sell schemes.

For example, the HDB can offer a two-bedroom (750 sq ft) apartment with an attached 250 sq ft studio unit at the price similar to a four-room flat; or perhaps a three-bedroom apartment (900 sq ft) with a 300 sq foot studio unit with pricing similar to a five-room flat.

With dual-key apartments, retirees can be assured of a rental income of at least $1,000 a month for the rest of their lives, without them having to move out or ask for subsidies.

Social services can assist in the collection of rent for the elderly who are senile or infirm.

Currently, dual-key apartments form only a small fraction of executive condominium units.

The HDB should grow this proportion in the next five years to catch the wave of the population reaching 50 and above, who will be retirees in 10 to 15 years' time.

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