Homeownership is an important milestone for many people, including those who identify as LGBTQ in Singapore. However, LGBTQ couples in Singapore may find it tricky to purchase property with their other half, especially HDB flats, as HDB identifies the “conventional family nucleus” to consist of straight, married couples, preferably with children.
In Singapore, LGBTQ individuals have the same legal rights to own property as heterosexual individuals. However, an LGBTQ couple will be seen as two single persons, and so they have to both be 35 years old and above to buy a house together. To co-own a house, they will have the same eligibility criteria and can only qualify for the same grants, as two singles buying under the Joint Singles Scheme.
Nevertheless, as society grows to be more inclusive, here are some considerations for the LGBTQ community when it comes to homeownership in Singapore:
Find a LGBTQ-friendly real estate agent
The best place to start is to look for a real estate agent who is supportive of the LGBTQ community or who at least has a neutral stand to work with on looking for a home that meets your specific needs. A LGBTQ-friendly real estate agent can also help make the homebuying process more comfortable and less stressful. An ideal LGBTQ-friendly agent should be familiar with the LGBTQ community and can help you find a property in a neighbourhood that is more welcoming and inclusive.
Look for LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhood
Consider looking for neighbourhoods with a large LGBTQ population or that are known to be LGBTQ-friendly. It is important to feel safe and welcomed in your neighbourhood. Research estates with a strong LGBTQ community or those that are known to be inclusive and diverse. Look for neighbourhoods with LGBTQ-friendly businesses, community centres, and events. You can do this by checking out online forums or social media groups for the LGBTQ community in Singapore. Some known “gaybourhoods” are located in Outram, Tanjong Pagar, and Chinatown.
You Might Still Face Discrimination (Unfortunately)
While it is illegal to discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in Singapore, it still happens. Be prepared to face discrimination from sellers and other parties involved in your home buying process, who may hold homophobic or transphobic views. This is why getting a supportive agent is crucial to support you if such an event occurs.
Protect Your Rights
Having a will or trust drawn up can help protect your rights and ensure your property is distributed according to your wishes. This is particularly important for LGBTQ individuals who may not have legal recognition of their relationships or may face challenges from family members who do not approve of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
As with any home buying process, it is also important to be aware of the laws and regulations related to property ownership. This includes understanding the process for buying a property, the fees involved, and any eligibility criteria that may pose an obstacle.
Ultimately, the key to successful homeownership for the LGBTQ community in Singapore is to be informed, prepared, and to work with supportive professionals who can help guide you through the process.
In Singapore, the LGBTQ community still faces certain challenges and discrimination in various aspects of life, including home ownership. Despite the challenges, it is possible for members of the LGBTQ community to find their dream home.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ community in Singapore and considering buying a home, it is essential to work with a trusted and experienced real estate agent who understands your needs and concerns.
Ohmyhome is an inclusive organisation that believes everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to have a safe and secure space to call their own. Our recent campaign in February titled “Home, Where Love Lives” showcased all types of families and couples especially those that are deemed “untypical”.
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