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2024 Guide to Property Ownership Transfer Rules in Singapore

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In Singapore, property transfer, also known as a transfer of ownership, refers to the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from an individual or entity (seller) to another (buyer). This process involves various legal and administrative steps to ensure a smooth and secure transaction.

Certain situations call for a transfer of ownership, such as

  • Selling a property: This is the most common scenario, where the current owner transfers ownership to a buyer who purchases the property.
  • Gifting a property: This involves transferring ownership to a family member or close friend without any financial exchange.
  • Inheritance: When the owner passes away, the property may be transferred to their beneficiaries as per their will.
  • Divorce settlement: In case of a divorce, the property may be transferred to one spouse or it may be sold on the open market, and the proceeds will be divided according to the court order.

If you are in the process of getting divorced, you can read our article on selling an HDB flat during divorce for more specific advice.

Did you know?

  • The process of change in flat ownership typically takes 4 months.
  • HDB flat owners can now only transfer ownership to family members in specific situations, like divorce, marriage, death, or financial hardship. Previously, they could freely transfer to spouses or family members, which some used to avoid property tax when buying a second home.

For a more detailed breakdown of strategies and alternative options when purchasing a second property in Singapore, explore helpful resources on HDB decoupling from trusted real estate professionals.

4 main types of ownership changes:

Type of ChangeDescription
Addition of co-owner / Inclusion of ownerRefers to the process of adding another individual as a co-owner or including the original owner, such as adding a son or daughter to the list of HDB owners if parents are facing financial hardship. E.g. Parents include daughter as owner
Removal of co-owner / Withdrawal of ownerRefers to removing a name from the ownership list. If a son or daughter wants to get their own HDB flat, they might need to officially remove their name from their parents’ HDB flat ownership.E.g. Son/Daughter removes themself as owner;removing spouse after divorce.
Replacement of co-owner / Substitution of ownerSubstituting one individual with another refers to transferring ownership, where someone replaces another as the owner E.g. Father replaces daughter with son as owner
Total change of ownersTotal change of owners refers to a full transition of ownership, where existing owners are replaced entirely by new ones.E.g. The father passes on, and the son takes over the flat.

Eligibility criteria for proposed HDB flat owners:

Reason for Change in Flat OwnershipChange in family structure (e.g., divorce, marriage, or death of an owner) or need to retain the flat.
RelationshipNew owners must be current owners’ immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, or siblings).
Eligibility SchemeNew owners and occupants must qualify under existing eligibility schemes.
AgeNew owners must be at least 21 years old.
CitizenshipNew owners can be Singapore Citizens (SC) or Permanent Residents (SPR), with at least one SC or SPR among them. If all are SPRs, they must have held permanent residency for at least 3 years.
Ownership in HDB/DBSS/ECNot currently owning/occupying a HDB flat, DBSS flat, or EC unit within its 5-year Minimum Occupation Period.
Ownership in Private PropertyOwners of private property or those who disposed of one in the last 15 months may take over an HDB flat if the existing owner has met occupation period requirements, at least one proposed owner is an SC, and all will live in the flat.
DebarmentNew owners must not have violated HDB/government rules or be debarred by HDB.

Pre-application checklist for HDB transfer of ownership

  • Assess your finances: Determine if you can afford the administrative fees, stamp duties, conveyancing fees, and valuation fees. If the original owners have an outstanding mortgage, you’ll need to pay it off with cash, CPF money, or take a new housing loan. You’ll also need to refund the CPF money of the original owners.
  • Take up a new mortgage: If you don’t have enough assets, get a new housing loan. For HDB loans, apply for a Home Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter. For bank loans, get an in-principle approval.
  • Settle outstanding payments: Both existing and proposed owners must settle any outstanding payments to HDB, like resale levy or upgrading payments.
  • Appoint a lawyer: Hire a lawyer to handle the ownership transfer. They’ll handle the paperwork and discharge existing mortgages. You can choose between an HDB or a private lawyer.

3-step process to apply for HDB transfer of ownership

Once the proposed homeowners are deemed financially fit to become HDB owners, you can proceed to submit your application. Here’s how.

  1. Submit your application online:
    • Only one person needs to complete the application on MyHDBPage. Others can provide consent through the platform.
    • Upload supporting documents through MyDocHDB.
  1. Wait for HDB assessment:
    • HDB will review your application and notify you of their decision.
  1. Attend the final appointment:
    • All applicants and spouses visit the HDB branch office.
    • Sign legal documents, confirm the new mortgage, and pay all fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? We’ve got the answers. If you don’t see your question here, drop us a message. We’re happy to assist.

An HDB flat owner may change the flat ownership to his/her immediate family members such as spouse, parents, children, or siblings if it is due to reasons acceptable by HDB.

Proof of ownership in HDB (Housing & Development Board) typically includes documents such as the Certificate of Title or the Deed of Lease, which shows the ownership details of the flat.

Regrettably, according to HDB regulations, married couples must jointly purchase an HDB flat as a family nucleus.

Each flat can have up to 4 owners. If there’s more than one proposed owner, they need to decide how they’ll share ownership when ownership changes: either joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common.

One spouse might agree to transfer their share of the flat to the other, so the other can keep the flat.