URA’s guideline is that residential properties or their individual rooms within the premises should not be rented out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Such short-term occupancy, with transient occupiers, creates disturbances and inconveniences to other bona fide residents in the development. Premises that are approved for residential use are for longer term stays of 6 months or more. The leasing of residential properties (whole unit) or subletting of rooms for residential purpose should be for long term stays of 6 months or more by the same occupiers.

To prevent overcrowding to the neighbouring residents, the maximum allowable occupancy of a residential unit (inclusive of the owner if he is living within the premises) shall be based on 10 sq m per occupant subject to a maximum cap of 8 occupants. This occupancy guideline does not apply if the entire unit is occupied by a family with no subletting involved. You should make sure that your salesperson who listed your Singapore property for rent complies with this URA guideline.

Even though your salesperson must perform due diligence checks on the tenants, you are also required by law to perform due diligence checks as well. This provides another layer of check to eradicate and prevent the harbouring of illegal immigrants and overstayers. If the Landlord is found guilty of not performing the due diligence checks, the penalty is a minimum of 6 months to 2 years jail & a fine not exceeding $6,000.

  1. Check the original immigration/ work or other passes of the tenant for forgery
  2. Cross-check particulars of these passes with the original passports and check photographs with the actual person
  3. Check the validity of immigration passes (such as Student Pass, Professional Visit Pass and Social Visit Pass) with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore or the validity of work or other passes (such as Work Permit, Employment Pass and Dependent’s Pass) with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  • By internet:
  • To verify immigration passes (Long Term Visit Pass and Student’s Pass) from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority:
    – Go to “Home”, move mouse to “Immigration Services” and click “Immigation Pass Check”


  • To verify work passes (Work Permit, Employment Pass and Dependant’s Pass) from Ministry of Manpower:
    – Go to “Home”, move mouse to “Immigration Services” and click “Work Permit Check” or “Employment Pass Check”


  • By telephone:
  • Contacts to verify the status of the foreigner:
  • Immigration & Checkpoints Authority at Tel: 6391-6100 (for immigration passes)
  • MOM at Tel: 6438-5122 (for work passes)


  • In person:
  • Check with Immigration & Checkpoints Authority or MOM during office hours to verify the authenticity of the immigration or work passes


HDB flats sold under the Home Ownership scheme are meant for owner-occupation by the owner and their families. However, flat owners who meet the eligibility condition can apply to rent out their whole flat. To sublet the whole flat, you are required to get prior approval from HDB.

An owner must obtain HDB’s approval before subletting the whole flat. To submit the application online, go to “Home”, move mouse to “HDB Resources”, click “HDB Portal” and click “Login to My HDBPage”. If the owner is overseas, there must be a properly appointed Attorney to act for him in the management of the flat. A certified true copy of the Power of Attorney (POA) must be furnished. There is an administrative fee of $20/- for each subletting application.

Maximum subletting period is 3 years per subletting approval. However, if subletting involves non-Malaysian non-citizen subtenants, the maximum period of subletting per application is 1.5 years. Renewal approval is required when existing subletting period has expired.

To sublet the whole HDB flat, owners need to satisfy the following conditions of a 3-year or 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

Can sublet whole HDB flat after a 3-year MOP, if the flat is:

  • A non-subsidised flat (flat purchased from the open market without a CPF Housing Grant) and the application for the purchase was received by HDB before 30 Aug 2010

Can sublet whole HDB flat after 5-year MOP, if the flat is:

  • A subsidised flat (flat purchased directly from HDB or from the open market with a CPF Housing Grant)
  • A non-subsidised flat (flat purchased from the open market without a CPF Housing Grant) and the application for the purchase was received by HDB on or after 30 Aug 2010

The subtenants must be SC or SPR or non-citizens legally residing in Singapore. For example: holders of Employment Passes, S Passes, Work Permits, Student Passes, Dependant Passes, Professional Visit Passes and Long Term Social Visit Passes (must have validity period of at least 6 months at the date of subletting application).

Work Permit holders from the construction, marine and process sectors must be Malaysians (Such Work Permit holders from other countries are not allowed).

Subtenants must not be owners of Executive Condominium units where the 5-year minimum occupation period has not been met.

Flat owners are not allowed to sublet the flat on a short term basis. The period of subletting to each subtenant per application must not be less than 6 months. Tourists are not allowed to rent HDB flats.

The maximum number of subtenants allowed in each flat type is as follows:

HDB Flat Type No. of persons
1-room and 2-room 4 persons
3-room 6 persons
4-room and above 9 persons
Source: HDB 
No approval is required for room rental but you must register with HDB and continue to live in the flat during the period of renting out the room and comply with all other subletting conditions. To register with HDB, go to “Home”, move mouse to “HDB Resources”, click “HDB Portal” and click “Login to MY HDBPage”.

The maximum no. of rooms & occupants* allowed for a HDB flat owner to have room(s) for rent in Singapore are as follows:

HDB 3 room flat = 1 bedroom & total 6 persons*
HDB 4 room flat & above = 2 bedrooms & total 9 persons*
(*includes owners, authorised occupants and subtenants)

Only 3 room & above HDB flats are allowed to sublet room(s). 1 room & 2 room HDB flats are NOT allowed to sublet any room.

You must register with HDB within 7 days from date of subletting. The penalty for non-compliance is a fine up to $3,000 and for repeat offenders, HDB can compulsorily acquire flat. You can register online at My HDBPage at www.hdb.gov.sg.

You must also notify HDB whenever there is:

  • Renewal
  • Termination
  • Changes in subtenant particulars


The property tax rate for non-residential residential property is 10% of the annual value.

The progressive property tax rates for non-owner-occupied residential property is as follows:

Annual value Effective 1/1/2014 Effective 1/1/2015
 First $30,000 10%  10%
 Next $15,000
 11%  12%
 Next $15,000  13%  14%
 Next $15,000
 15%  16%
 Next $15,000
 17%  18%
 After $90,000
 19%  20%

No, starting from 12/1/2013, SPR households (all SPR owners) will no longer be allowed to sublet their whole HDB flat. This new rule will apply to existing SPR households owning a HDB flat and SPR households who intend to buy a resale HDB flat. SPR households will continue to be able to sublet rooms. SPR households who have been approved by the HDB to sublet their whole HDB flats prior to 12/1/2013 will be allowed to continue with the subletting arrangement for the remainder of the approved duration.

If the owners consist of a SPR and a Singaporean, it shall be treated as Singaporean households and hence it will not be affected by the new rule.

According to URA guidelines, a private residential property is not allowed be used as workers’ dormitory. A private residential property is deemed to be a workers’ dormitory if the total number of workers staying there exceeds 8. A workers’ dormitory is defined as a premises used for lodging of workers who may be unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption or legal guardianship.

If the total number of workers staying in the private residential property does not exceed 8, you are allowed to lease out your premises to workers for residential purpose.

In other words, for your private residential property, you are permitted to lease out your premises to foreign workers of any country so long as the total number of foreign workers in your premises does not exceed 8.