by OrangeTee & Tie Pte Ltd.

Empty BTO flats up for sale on property portals, despite 5-year MOP rule for owners


SINGAPORE - At least three unrenovated Build-To-Order (BTO) flats that appear to have never been lived in before are up for sale on property listing portals, despite the Housing Board’s rule that flat owners must live in their unit for the full five-year minimum occupation period (MOP).

These flats have no light fixtures or kitchen carpentry and come with the original sanitary fittings provided by HDB – with some toilet bowls still wrapped in plastic.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee, in a Facebook post on Monday, said owners cannot buy a BTO flat, not move into it for five years, and then sell it as “almost brand new” on the resale market. If owners are unable to fulfil the MOP, the flat has to be returned to HDB. It will then be put up as a balance flat for other home buyers to apply for, he added.

OrangeTee & Tie property agent Susan Mariam said she had once sold a half-renovated HDB flat, as the husband died soon after the couple collected their keys and started renovation works, and the wife did not want to live in the unit.

“It’s very rare to come across flats that are completely empty, maybe one out of 100, and it’s usually because of an emotional reason such as a spouse has died or the owners believe the unit is haunted and refuse to move in,” said Ms Mariam.

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