5-room Yishun BTO left vacant and unrenovated for 8 years and up for sale, Desmond Lee says it may breach HDB rules

SINGAPORE — A 5-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flat was never occupied by its buyer and was left vacant for eight years, before being listed for sale in its original condition, even with the toilet bowl still wrapped in plastic.

The 1,206 sq ft 5-room corner flat at Block 505A Yishun Street 51 was earlier listed at S$690,000 on the Property Guru website.

However, the photos of the unit’s interior condition raised the buyer’s eyebrows, as the whole unit appeared to remain in its original condition at the point of its completion.

Shin Min Daily News reported that the owner had bought the house eight years ago, but it seems the floor was not tiled, and basic electric appliances such as fans or lights are yet to be installed, the new buyer would need to invest further in renovation and furnishing:

From the photo shared via the ads, even the toilet bowl still remain in brand-new condition and plastic-wrapped, as though it was just recently installed.

The kitchen was also left empty and yet to connect to water and electric supply:

The recent HDB resale price for 4-room and 5-room flat in Yishun Street 51 ranges from S$426,000 to S$670, 000.

Some netizens had raised questions about whether the owner was hoping to sell his BTO flat at a higher price to gain profit in the current heating property market.

Commented under Shin Min Daily’s Facebook post, Netizen Chan Chong Wah said this is an unfair practice in which the rich can get the BTO as an investment method, and sell it after five years without staying at the flat.

Bottegaga Leebottegaga said: This is cheating! This deprived the opportunity for those applicants who really need a house! Very helpless! But what can the Singapore government do?

Netizen Deacon Koh said that it is like property speculation in Hong Kong, the owner might have the same mindset, in which he bought the house not to live in but to speculate on the property.

“This is the greed and selfishness of human nature. Like those outrageous rental prices, it is a profiteering mentality.”

Netizen Lee Soh Geok suggested that to prove that the owner did occupy the unit, maybe in future, the Singapore Power will be required to produce annual utility bills to see if these places were lived in or not.

According to the Housing and Development Board (HDB) website, flat buyers have to physically occupy their flats during the Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP), which is five years for BTO flats.

The ad has since been taken down from Property Guru.

Desmond Lee: BTO flat must be owner-occupied for the full MOP period

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of National Development wrote in a Facebook post, stressed that a BTO flat must be owner-occupied for the full MOP period.

“I was asked whether a family can buy an HDB BTO flat, not live in it or move into it for 5 years, and then sell it as “almost brand new” on the resale market.”

“The answer is no, “he wrote. He explained that If the owners are unable to fulfil the MOP, then the flat needs to be returned to HDB. HDB will then put up as a balance flat for other home buyers to apply for.

“Otherwise, it may be a breach of HDB rules and HDB will investigate accordingly, ” Desmond Lee further encourage the publics to alert HDB via their hotline 1800-555-6370 if they suspected any misuse of flats.

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