Updated: Jan 31
When unforeseen circumstances make it necessary for HDB flat owners to sell their homes before the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is fulfilled, there is an appeal system in place for them. HDB considers special reasons like bankruptcy or divorce, so that owners can get the financial help they need.
Applications must be accompanied by proper documentation proving the main applicant's hardship, such as a job termination letter, a court order for divorce, or an agreement from a credit bureau. If accepted, HDB informs the successful applicants of their decision via post within two months of submission. So, if you're a HDB owner hoping to secure an early MOP sale, it may be worth your while to apply and see what assistance you can get from HDB.
The Concept of MOP for Singapore HDB Flats
The Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is one of the key considerations when it comes to owning a HDB flat in Singapore. It requires owners of HDB flats to physically occupy their home for 5 consecutive years, starting from the time they receive their keys. Resale flats and SERS flats also require owners to fulfill this MOP.
However, there are several factors that can affect the amount of time spent in your flat within the MOP duration. For instance, if you are required to stay overseas for extended periods due to work or personal reasons during this period, your MOP duration will be adjusted accordingly - any stretches of overseas absence will not be included when determining your overall MOP.
The MOP, or Minimum Occupation Period, is an important requirement that all HDB homeowners must take note of. It means that you must stay in your HDB flat for a certain amount of time before you can sell it. Of course, there are many other HDB regulations to keep track of when owning an HDB flat, including Singpass use to log in and check your remaining MOP duration on the e-Service portal.
You may even want to sublet individual rooms if you observe HDB’s occupancy restrictions. Failing to adhere to the rules could result in facing serious penalties such as confiscation of your flat. Different types of HDB flats come with different MOP requirements, with ten years designated for Prime Location Public Housing and 20 years for the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, for example. It pays to be informed, so head over to the HDB website now if you’d like to know more.
Under what conditions can you make an HDB sale appeal before MOP?
Most of us plan to stay in our HDB for the full five- or ten years before selling them. Unfortunately, situations arise that can drastically change our circumstances and make it necessary to sell a home before its MOP expires. If you find yourself in need of selling your HDB flat prior to the MOP time frame ending, there are instances when you can make an appeal. Depending on the nature of your situation, if you are divorced, declared bankruptcy, or have lost citizenship, there is a chance that you can get approval from HDB on an early sale. To create a strategic timeline for your MOP sale, it is important to reach out and find out what specific qualifications need to be met before making such a decision, as all details must be taken into consideration when appealing to sell before MOP.
Divorce and Transference of Ownership
Divorce can be a difficult situation and selling any shared property is usually beneficial to both parties, especially to help provide closure. While waiting until a flat meets its Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) before selling may seem sensible, many opt to go through with it earlier if they are going through a divorce.
In this case, lawyers often suggest that one spouse assume flat ownership if they meet the financial and eligibility requirements for the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme. This way, the process of navigating their division of joint assets becomes smoother, allowing both parties involved to move on from the difficult circumstances surrounding their divorce.
On the other hand, should you decide to give up the flat, then you can submit an appeal to HDB via their e-Feedback form with relevant documents for approval. Additionally, certain legal documents must be submitted for approval, including:
Divorce Certificate for Muslims
Interim Judgement and Certificate of Making Interim Judgement Final (Decree Nisi and Decree Nisi Absolute respectively).
Writ for Judicial Separation (previously known as the Deed of Separation)
If any of these papers are relevant to your situation, you may submit an appeal to HDB via their e-Feedback form for consideration. Any documents that are not in one of Singapore’s official languages, including Mandarin Chinese, English, Tamil, and Malay, then it must be accompanied by an official English translation. It is also important that each parties involved come to mutually agreeable terms on how best to share any profits or losses before proceeding with the sale.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Nobody wants to experience the devastation that can come with bankruptcy, especially when it is related to an accident or death of a household's sole income earner. Although HDB views such cases on a case-by-case basis and may decide if they deem the others in the household as capable enough of working and providing sufficient funding, there are some alternative options available. For example, families facing financial difficulties due to a major life event can take proactive steps to help prevent insolvency. Selling the current flat and downsizing to a less expensive option could help prevent the need for bankruptcy filing - but if HDB does not accept this move, applicants can submit documents illustrating their financial situation via HDB’s appeal portal.
Loss or Renouncement of Citizenship
As a non-citizen, you may be wary of the process of purchasing an HDB; it's not as easy as simply finding a nice place and signing on the dotted line. To purchase an HDB property as a non-citizen in Singapore, you must apply under the Non-Resident Spouse Scheme. This is if you decide to renounce your Singapore Citizenship and Permanent Resident status because of relocating overseas or marrying a citizen might open up opportunities for you. In such cases, HDB may permit homeowners to sell their property back and return all Central Provident Funds (CPF) money.
What is a proven strategy to succeed in HDB sale before MOP?
According to official records, over 5,000 pre-MOP flats have been sold with MOP waivers between 2015 and 2020. Selling your HDB before the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) can be challenging, but there are things you can do to increase your chances.
While no one method will guarantee a MOP waiver from HDB, it always helps to have your documents organised before making an appeal. This could include paperwork relating to exceptional circumstances that may affect the sale of your flat like financial hardship, divorce, or even the demise of the owner. Additionally, regularly checking the status and being honest and transparent on the reasons why you must sell your flat will also send positive signals to HDB when processing your application.
How do you go about appeal submission for HDB sale before MOP?
Appealing for the sale of your HDB before MOP is no small feat, but it is possible. Whether you visit the nearest HDB branch office and submit your appeal directly or apply online through the My HDBPage page, start by getting in touch with the estate manager of your block.
In addition, make sure to include all relevant information in a well-crafted letter that outlines exactly why you need to sell before MOP. Additionally, contact your Member of Parliament for assistance – if it aligns with their agenda and beliefs, you might be able to increase your chances of success. At the end of the day, however, it is up to HDB whether they accept your appeal.
Sell Your HDB Flat Fast at the Best Price
Selling a home is a complicated and intimidating task that requires skill, knowledge, and expertise to do it right. Good news - MOP Upgraders are here to help. JJ Wong is a real estate specialist with more than six years of industry experience. As a founder of MOPUpgraders.sg, he prides himself on his honest, professional approach to business. His dedication to helping his clients has been recognised, with JJ being the recipient of the Star Performer Service Award twice over. Based on his expertise, JJ believes that financial planning and timeline planning are integral elements in facilitating a successful property upgrade process for MOP owners. By understanding their comfort levels and providing tailored solutions, he can make sure they get the best outcome possible. With JJ's help, you can be sure to achieve your aspirations in real estate - whatever they may be.
MOPUpgraders has served countless satisfied customers and have been praised for our top-notch services on various online platforms. At MOP Upgraders, our team is always available and will partner with you every step of the way throughout your selling journey. With us in your corner, you can count on getting your dream price for your property in no time, hassle-free. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.
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JJ Wong is the founder of MOPUpgraders.sg and has been a Property Wealth Planner in the real estate market for the past 6 years. He has helped many clients achieve their aspirations with the right financial planning and sound timeline planning. He is the man behind upgrading case studies of those who are holding on property under 10 years.