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Eligible families waiting for BTO flats can apply for $300 a month in rental vouchers from July 1

Eligible families waiting for BTO flats can apply for $300 a month in rental vouchers from July 1
To qualify for the rental voucher scheme, families must have a monthly household income of $7,000 or below.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Eligible families waiting for their Build-To-Order (BTO) units can apply to tap $300 a month in vouchers to offset rent for an HDB flat or bedroom on the open market from July 1.

The initiative under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), which provides interim rental housing for families with an unfinished flat from the Housing Board’s sale exercises, will run from July 2024 to June 2025.

To qualify for the full year of support, which amounts to $3,600, applicants’ tenancies must start on or before July 31, 2024, and they must submit their application to HDB by Aug 31.

“This gives eligible households who are planning to apply for the PPHS voucher sufficient time to secure a suitable tenancy and apply for the voucher,” HDB said on June 13.

The initiative provides these families with more support as HDB works to double its supply of interim rental flats under the scheme from 2,000 units now to 4,000 by 2025.

To qualify for the rental voucher scheme, families must have a monthly household income of $7,000 or lower. They must ensure that their landlord has registered their tenancy with HDB, and that their NRIC addresses have been updated.

Applicants who are fiance and fiancee must submit their marriage certificate within the first three months of their tenancy period to qualify for the voucher, HDB said.

Eligible families will receive the voucher through reimbursement for tenancies that fall between July 2024 and June 2025. If applicants start their tenancy on June 30, 2025, they will still be eligible for a $300 voucher for that month.

Reimbursements will be made to the applicant’s PayNow-NRIC-linked bank accounts, with each tranche including up to six months of vouchers. HDB said the first tranche will typically be about seven months from the date of application.

The voucher will not be pro-rated for periods of tenancy that do not make up a complete month. To qualify for the voucher for any given month, families must submit their application by the end of the following month.

Those who are currently renting a PPHS flat from HDB can also choose to rent on the open market and apply for the voucher, HDB said. But they will qualify for the voucher only after they have ended the tenancy for the PPHS flat.

Families will not be eligible for the voucher if they rent a unit from immediate family or close relatives.

HDB had said in March that it will carry out various checks on the applicant’s tenancy, which may include physical checks at the tenant’s address, before disbursing the voucher. It may also refer cases to the police for further investigation, and withhold disbursement for suspected abuse cases.

The board said then that the number of applications under PPHS has dropped significantly after it ramped up the supply of temporary homes from 800 units in 2021 to the current 2,000.

In 2021, more than 20 applicants were vying for each available flat, and in February 2024, this fell to 2.3 applicants.

On June 13, HDB said it has been actively working to reduce the waiting time for BTO flats. In 2024, 75 per cent of new flats slated for launch will have waiting times of four years or less, it added.

Project administrator Koh Ling Ying, 31, said she will consider applying for the voucher if she does not get a PPHS flat by the end of 2024.

“A PPHS flat will still be my first choice because it is affordably priced for a whole unit. On the open market, I would be able to rent only a room and have to sacrifice some privacy,” she said.

Two-room flats under PPHS are priced for rental at around $400 to $550 a month, while three-room units are between $600 and $900.

Ms Koh and her husband are living apart while waiting for their four-room flat in Bedok to be completed in 2028.

“If renting on the open market is too expensive and we decide not to apply for the voucher, I hope we can secure a PPHS flat when the supply is doubled in 2025. We would rather not live apart while waiting for our flat,” Ms Koh added.

ALSO READ: First BTO project in Chencharu, Yishun's new estate, to be launched in June; flats will have smart and green features

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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