Waiting period for divorcees to buy subsidised HDB flats scrapped: Lawrence Wong

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The mandatory three-year wait for divorcees to purchase a subsidised HDB flat will scrapped as of Tuesday (6 March), said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in Parliament.

Under the revised measure, both parties in a divorce will now be allowed to buy or own a subsidised flat each as long as they are eligible to do so, said the Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB in a joint press release explaining the change. The previous ruling stated that only one party of a divorced couple could buy or own a subsidised flat within three years of the divorce.

Speaking during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Wong noted that several Members of Parliament (MPs) had asked if the government would do more to help ensure a smoother housing transition for divorcees, especially for the sake of their children.

Wong said the time-bar was an issue faced by divorcees attempting to purchase subsidised flats, adding that “we have reviewed the matter and decided to remove the time bar completely”.

The 45-year-old MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC emphasised that HDB already provides advice to families on their post-divorce housing options, so as to make their housing transition smoother.

Such families receive help through the Assist scheme, which gives them priority when applying for a two-room or three-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate.

Subsidised flats are also made available for rent during the wait for the BTO units to be ready, said Wong. He added that HDB also offers rental housing to those in need, including those who may need help to tide over a protracted or acrimonious divorce.

“We hope that this will help divorced persons provide a more conducive living environment for their children and go some way to help families through an already difficult period of transition,” said Wong of the measures in place.

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