NDR 2018: More HDB flat owners to benefit from redevelopment before leases expire

HDB Flats (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
HDB Flats (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

The government plans to introduce an estate redevelopment scheme for flats that reach about 70 years old, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (19 August).

Delivering his National Day Rally speech at the Institute of Technical Education Central, Lee said the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) is needed given the limitations of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

While SERS is a “very good” scheme for estate rejuvenation, only around 5 per cent of flats are suitable for SERS as many projects with high redevelopment potential have already been done, Lee pointed out.

The government wants more households to benefit from redevelopment before their leases expire. At the same time, it aims to plan ahead before the leases in older estates expire around the same time and all flats return to the state within a few years, Lee said.

As such, the government wants to redevelop old towns over 20 to 30 years, or when the oldest flats reach about 70 years old onwards, he added.

Under VERS, the government will compensate residents whose flats are taken early and help them live in other flats.

The terms will be less generous than SERS as there will be less financial upside. VERS will hence be voluntary and residents will have to vote for it. Should they vote no, they can continue to live in their flats until their leases run out.

As VERS is a long-term plan, the government will not be implementing it for another 20 years, Lee said.

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