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Singapore landlord criticised for trying to rent out sparse HDB utility room: ‘A morgue would be better’

The listing went viral, and has since been removed by the original poster after strong backlash from netizens

HDB blocks in Singapore.
HDB blocks in Singapore. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE – Would you pay $600 a month to rent a narrow room that just has a fan, a small desk and a storage rack?

One landlord in Singapore believed that there would be interested parties, and put up a room listing on his personal Facebook page a few days ago. Based on the photo and details shared, the rooms appeared to be a utility room in a Toa Payoh Central flat.

According to The Straits Times, the listing was reshared on the Facebook group Singapore Islandwide Room Rental on Wednesday (21 February) and attracted more than 2,000 reactions. Many netizens criticised the landlord for offering a room that they likened to a morgue.

One netizen quipped that a morgue would be better than the listed room, as there is air-conditioning at a morgue.

Listing was removed by original poster

According to the Housing Development Board (HDB) website, it is illegal to rent out utility rooms, as “only bedrooms originally constructed by HDB can be rented out”. All other parts of the flat cannot be used as bedrooms for tenants.

The landlord eventually removed the image of the room from his post. However, netizens added the images back via the comment section on the post.

One netizen wrote in the comments, “People come here to work, not to live in a morgue. Why don’t you live in it first and get a feel of what it’s like before renting it out?”

By 5pm on Friday, the original listing has been deleted.

Unauthorised renting out of flats

In a written answer to Parliamentary questions in July 2023, the Ministry of National Development said that it has detected possible cases of unauthorised renting out of flats through a range of methods, including monitoring of advertisements and following up on public feedback.

“HDB takes the violation of its rules and regulations seriously and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant owners and tenants," the ministry said.

HDB may issue a written warning, impose a financial penalty of up to $50,000, or acquire the flats compulsorily from the owners, depending on the severity and circumstances of the infringement.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact HDB at 1800-5556370 if they come across any suspected cases of unauthorised rental or misuse of flats.

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