At the age of 35 and single sounds like fabulous life to some. But in Singapore, it is big deal where adulting can finally happen, buying your first HDB flat! There’s no need to worry about being affordable for HDB rental anymore. Because the amount paid for HDB rental is equivalent to the monthly instalment paid or your own house. Singapore’s Housing Development Board has their set of eligibility for the singles and unmarried citizens when they reach 35 years old and above and individual Singaporeans who is widowed or orphaned who has reached 21 years old and above to purchase or own a HDB flat unit and must be Singaporean. Not even Permanent Resident (PR) status allows Singaporean to buy a brand new or first hand HDB flats across Singapore.
Now, you have passed the eligibility tests, here is the next step to HDB unit ownership, selecting the schemes as it may help you with the grants that you may apply to help you reduce your financial burden with grants and schemes. There are two types of schemes available for the singles which are Single Singapore Citizen Scheme and Joint Single Schemes, check here for more. There can be two to four co-applicants for HDB flat.
There are few scenarios why single prefer owning a HDB flat with other co-owners:
1) Two singles who are in a relationship may have plans to get married in the future. Hence, the HDB flat that they bought may become their matrimonial home in the future. Buying a flat together may be a better idea as opposed to buying two separate HDB flats, needing to sell off one should they get married.
2) The two (or more) singles may want to buy a HDB flat but are unable to afford it on their own. Hence, they pool their resources to buy it together.
3) The two singles may have plans to live together over the long-term but have no plans to get married or be unable to be (legally) married.
There are few crucial notes of HDB flat ownership structure you will need to know especially being single and buying it with another single. Well, the most common one would be through a joint tenancy agreement which also applies on survivorship. This shows that upon the demise either one of the owner, the ownership of the flat would be passed down to remaining owner or co-owners automatically. This joint tenancy agreement applies whether or not a valid will has or has not been left behind.
Another method is through Tenancy-in-Common arrangement different from joint tenancy agreement where it is to separate and definite share that indicates ownership share for each owner. This structure allows any of the individual can have a will that explicitly state how his or respective ownership should be distributed when it is pass on. The flat ownership will be pass on in accordance to the Intestate Succession Act during the absence of a valid will.
If any of the single flat co-owners through a Joint Tenancy arrangement, the HDB flat belongs to remaining co-owner or co-owners. This applies to all whether valid will has or has been left behind. As for tenancy-in-common arrangement, the person that co-owns the flat with other singles, their home ownership proportion will be passed down in accordance to the intestate succession act.
What is intestate succession act? This applies in the absence of a valid will. Basically, spouse and children are the first in line to receive the inheritance which is the HDB flat. Well, what happens if the owner is a single person? In this case, the parents will be the ownership receiver of this HDB flat but if there’s no surviving parents, the siblings will be the next receiver of the flat. Then, in the absence of any surviving parents and siblings, the siblings’ children will receive the flat. However, the state will claim the estate if it has exhausted all other means to find any blood relatives of the individual who have pass on.
If a single person leaves a valid will, it will be much easier. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, if you’re a HDB owner with single status or have a sizeable assets belonging to you, it is advisable to leave a valid will. This is to ensure your assets are passed down in the way you wish.