Low angle view of public housing HDB resident buildings/ flats complex with grass courtyard, trees and dense of apartments during sunset in Singapore. Urban concept (Photo by Trong Nguyen from Shutterstock.com).

The Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) will be extended to all HDB flat types with effect from 1 January 2019, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced in a press release on Tuesday (1 January).

Previously, the LBS was only available to seniors who own 4-room or smaller flat types.

With the extension, seniors who own 5-room and larger flat types can now take up the LBS to monetise their flat. As at November 2018, about 34,000 households can benefit from this extension, bringing the total number of households who are eligible for LBS to about 130,000.

The authority noted that households in 5-room and larger flats will receive up to $5,000 cash bonus per household when they participate in the LBS. This is on top of the proceeds they receive from selling part of their remaining flat lease to HDB. There are no changes to the other LBS eligibility conditions.

For sole-owner households, the owner will have to use the proceeds to top up his/her CPF Retirement Account (RA) to the current age-adjusted Full Retirement Sum (FRS). For households with two or more owners, each owner will use his/her share of proceeds to top up his/her RA to the current age-adjusted Basic Retirement Sum (BRS).

Households can choose the duration of lease to retain, subject to a minimum based on the age of the youngest owner. The duration of lease retained determines the amount of LBS proceeds that the household will receive.

After taking up the LBS, the authority stressed that seniors may still rent out spare bedrooms to supplement their retirement income further. Besides the LBS and renting out bedrooms, other monetisation options for seniors are renting out their whole flat (if they did not take up the LBS) and right-sizing to a smaller flat with the option of applying for the Silver Housing Bonus.

Seniors who are interested to take up the LBS or any other housing monetisation option can make an appointment for a personalised one-to-one financial counselling session at any HDB Branch.

However, many netizens felt that the offer is nonsense.

Sebastian J Muthu wrote, “Of course since now can’t return citizens CPF monies and with relaxing HDB rules to allow PRs to purchase HDB flats. The pap will need to entrap the PRs CPF monies too and not only overpopulating the country but hanging on to their CPF to put into a public housing scheme set up to only benefit simgapore citizens (whom after selling flat in lease buyback will need to put money into the CPF account or retirement sum targets etc ). VTO2019 – so we can throughly and openly investigate the schemes of HDB and CPF. Do not use the lease buyback but insists that it can be passed to family’s next generation.”

Raymond Lim Guam wrote, ‘First in the world and only happens in Singapore the government would buy back part of the lease with bonus of $5,000 to $20,000 and could still rent out room to increase the retire income! But disappointed those kids who hope.”

Mikel Tan wrote, “Another trap. Don’t fall for it.”

Steven Luo wrote, ‘Damned Jiak lak, poor Sporeans are always been manipulated!”

Joshua Ng wrote, “Pay for something 99 years and equals to zero.”


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