Renting accommodation in Singapore

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It should be noted that Singapore’s housing laws state that the minimum rental period is 3 months for private properties and 6 months for HDB flats, therefore Airbnb or any other short-term rentals made to tourists are illegal.[1] There are two main ways in which individuals can rent accommodation in Singapore. The Housing Development Board (HDB) offers rental schemes for Singaporeans. Alternatively, individuals may rent from the open market.

Public Rental Scheme[edit | edit source]

Eligible Singapore Citizens and Singapore PRs may rent a HDB unit from HDB, though the Public Rental Scheme or Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme. By renting directly from HDB, tenants enjoy a subsidised rental fee, making this the most affordable housing option. First-timers can submit their application online (HDB application portal) or in person to the HDB Hub.

Flats under these schemes are heavily subsidised to cater to Singaporean households who have no other housing choices. However, the number of rental flats under this scheme is limited. To first qualify for the general Public Rental Scheme, the general requirements are as such:

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old
  • Applicant and listed occupier should have a gross household income of not more than S$1,500 per month
  • Must not own any properties at the point of application


The Public Rental Scheme can be broken down into the Family Scheme and the Joint Singles Scheme.

Conditions[edit | edit source]

For the Family Scheme, applicant must be a Singapore Citizen above the age of 21.[2] Applicant must be in a family unit. The applicant must include at least 1 other listed occupant who is a Singapore citizen or PR. If the applicant is orphaned, he can apply with his siblings but at least one of the deceased parents must have been a Singapore citizen or PR.


For the Joint Singles Scheme, both the applicant and the listed occupier must be Singapore Citizens who are 35 years old and above if they are unmarried or divorced, or 21 years old and above if they are widowed or orphaned.[3] For orphans, at least one of the deceased parents must have been a Singapore citizen or PR.

Guidelines for flat type[edit | edit source]

Applicants can choose to rent a HDB flat in any of the following application zones: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Tampines, Bukit Merah, Jurong or Woodlands.[4] The applicants eligible for the housing types under each scheme are as such:

Type of HDB flat Family Scheme[5] Joint Singles Scheme[6]
1-Room flats - Applicants with no household income

- 2-person households

- Households with 3 or more members

Applicable
2-Room flats - Households with 3 or more members Not applicable

Rental cost and deposits[edit | edit source]

Rental fees vary according to the level of household income, flat type and whether the tenant is a first or second-timer applicant. All applicants are required to pay a 1-month rent deposit when the tenancy agreement is signed.[7]

Monthly Household Income Monthly rent for 1-Room Flats Monthly rent for 2-Room Flats
S$800 or less S$26 - S$33 (first-timers)

S$90 - S$123 (second-timers)

S$44 - S$75 (first-timer)

S$123 - $165 (second-timer)

S$801 to S$1,500 S$90 - S$123 (first-timers)

S$150 - S$205 (second-timers)

S$123 - S$165 (first-timer)

S$205 - $275 (second-timer)

Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS)[edit | edit source]

The PPHS helps to temporarily house families as they await the completion of their BTO flats. Applicants can rent a flat under this scheme if they have booked an uncompleted flat under the HDB sales exercises. Married couples or those under the Fiance/ Fiancee BTO Scheme are eligible to apply. Divorced or widowed parents with children are also allowed to apply through this scheme.

Conditions[edit | edit source]

Applicant must be a Singapore citizen with another Singapore citizen or PR in the household. The occupiers of the PPHS flat must not own an existing HDB flat.[8] Applicants are eligible for both 3 and 4-room flats, but the maximum number of occupants should not exceed 6 persons. The maximum duration for tenancy is 3 years. Tenancy can be renewed on a yearly basis if the BTO flat is not ready by the expiry date.

Rental costs and deposits[edit | edit source]

Rental fees are based on the location and type of flat. Applicants will be required to pay stamp fees and a 1-month rent deposit when the tenancy is signed. All subsequent rent should be paid via GIRO. The rental rate of 3-room flats ranges from S$600 to S$900 and the rental rate of 4-room flats is around S$1,500.

Renting from open market[edit | edit source]

Individuals can also choose to rent a HDB flat/room or private housing from the open market.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

Individuals may choose to hire a property agent to assist with the selection and negotiation process. Hiring a property agent will incur a commission fee. This fee is equivalent to half or 1 month’s worth of rent after the whole procedure. Alternatively, individuals can look for accommodation independently from online platforms such as STProperty (STProperty website) and PropertyGuru (PropertyGuru website).


Some landlords require a Letter of Intent as a formal document to secure the apartment for the tenant before signing the Tenancy Agreement.[9] This letter will be produced by the property agent and it has to be signed by both the tenant and landlord. The signing of the Letter of Intent is often accompanied by a ‘good faith’ deposit for extra assurance. This payment is non-refundable and will go towards the first month’s rent.


The Tenancy Agreement states all details of the lease (Stamp Duty, security deposit and the first month’s rent will have to be paid during the signing of the Tenancy Agreement. As a benchmark, the security deposit for a 2-year tenancy is worth 2 months of rent.[10]

Conditions[edit | edit source]

For HDB housing, applicant must be either a Singapore Citizen, Singapore PR or a non-citizen legally residing in Singapore under a valid residence pass. Work Permit holders from the construction, marine and process sectors must be Malaysians. Only Malaysian Work Permit holders from the manufacturing sector are allowed to rent a whole HDB flat.[11] For private housing such as condominiums and landed property, all nationalities with a legal residence pass are allowed to rent.


The minimum rental period of a HDB unit/ bedroom is 6 months. Owners can apply to rent out flat/ bedrooms for a maximum of 3 years if their tenants are all Singaporeans or Malaysians. For other nationalities, the maximum rental period is 2 years.[12]

Guidelines for flat type[edit | edit source]

The rental guidelines for the different types of HDB flats are as such:

Type of HDB flat Maximum no. of occupants Maximum no. of rented bedrooms
1-Room & 2-Room 4 Owners cannot rent out bedrooms
3-Room 6 Owners can rent out 1 bedroom
4-Room & bigger 6 Owners can rent out 2 bedrooms

Renting black and white houses[edit | edit source]

There are around 500 colonial houses in Singapore today and most of them are state-owned properties. Interested individuals may rent these houses from private owners through online listings or bid for the government properties through SLA’s website (SLA application portal).


Only individuals with an average monthly income of more than 3 times the offer rent are eligible to rent properties from the government.[13] Eligible individuals can make an appointment to view the house with the appointed property agents through SLA’s website. They can then download the application form from the website and submit it to Cushman & Wakefield Facilities & Engineering at 750A Chai Chee Road #05-01, Singapore 469001.

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. “Is Airbnb Illegal in Singapore?”. Singapore Legal Advice. October 23, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/is-airbnb-illegal-singapore
  2. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. April 3, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/eligibility
  3. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. April 3, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/eligibility
  4. “Flat Types”. Housing & Development Board. April 3, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/flat-types
  5. “Flat Types”. Housing & Development Board. April 3, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/flat-types
  6. “Flat Types”. Housing & Development Board. April 3, 2018. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/flat-types
  7. “Rents and Deposits”. Housing & Development Board. October 7, 2017. Accessed on 18 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/public-rental-scheme/rents-and-deposits
  8. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. September 6, 2017. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-hdb/parenthood-provisional-housing-scheme-pphs/eligibility
  9. O’Donoghue, Claire. “Letter of Intent - What’s It About?”. Greyloft. April 29, 2016. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.greyloft.com/blog/letter-of-intent-singapore/
  10. O’Donoghue, Claire. “A Complete Guide to Renting Property in Singapore”. Greyloft. March 11, 2016. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.greyloft.com/blog/a-complete-guide-to-renting-property-in-singapore/
  11. “Eligibility Conditions and Guidelines”. Housing & Development Board. September 12, 2017. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-the-open-market/eligibility
  12. “Eligibility Conditions and Guidelines”. Housing & Development Board. September 12, 2017. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/renting-a-flat/renting-from-the-open-market/eligibility
  13. Tan, Elizabeth. “Guide to renting a colonial house in Singapore”. 99.co. April, 2018. Accessed on 19 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/renting-colonial-house-singapore/