SINGAPORE: There has been a significant drop in the number of Housing and Development Board rental flats being sublet illegally.
The HDB said a total of 45 cases were detected so far this year, compared to 221 in 2008.
In 2009, HDB terminated the tenancies of 170 errant tenants, while 130 rental flats were recovered in 2010. Last year, 63 of such unauthorised subletting cases were detected.
Channel NewsAsia followed the HDB on one of its enforcement checks at North Bridge Road on Wednesday evening.
Such checks are conducted regularly to detect any unauthorised subletting cases.
HDB said rental flats are highly subsidised and meant for truly needy households -- with an income ceiling of S$1,500 per month.
First-timers could pay as low as S$26 for a one-room rental flat.
But some tenants illegally rent out their rental flats at market rates.
HDB manages about 49,000 of such rental flats.
First-timers earning a monthly household income of S$800 and below, pay a monthly rental rate of S$26 to S$33 for a one-room flat and S$44 to S$75 for a two-room flat.
The HDB added that the drop in unauthorised subletting cases is because of the stepped up enforcement since 2008. A new ruling which took effect from 1 July 2010, also could have played a part.
Tenants and occupiers who flout the rules are not allowed to apply for any HDB accommodation for a longer period and they also have to pay a financial penalty.
Errant tenants and occupiers are not allowed to apply for any HDB accommodation for a longer period of ten and five years respectively, and they have to pay a financial penalty of S$5,000.
Prior to 1 July 2010, tenants and occupiers were debarred for five years and 2.5 years respectively.
HDB said its stepped-up enforcement efforts have helped to reduce the number of illegal subletting cases.
Mr Jeffrey Ho, Senior Estate Manager of Housing Management Group at HDB, said its enforcement and education programme have been quite successful.
He said besides feedback from neighbours of strange persons staying in the flat, some of the tell-tale signs of illegal subletting include the presence of many pairs of shoes outside a flat when the unit is only occupied by a number of persons, children's shoes and female laundry.
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