Update on: Filipina's ad caused an uproar

Posted on: Jan 14, 2012

An update on a Filipina's ad about transient rooms:  Tenancy agreement was terminated, owner warned by HDB.

From Singapore Yahoo News -->

A warning has been issued to the owner of an HDB flat in Yishun that has allegedly been turned into a “budget hotel”, said the Housing Development Board (HDB) on Jan-12. A HDB spokesperson said that the agency has investigated the matter, and it has sent a letter of warning to the Singaporean flat owner who had been given approval to sublet his flat on compassionate grounds.

The owner claims he was unaware his tenant had marketed his flat for transient accommodation and has since terminated the rental agreement, the spokesperson disclosed.

“HDB takes a stern view against the infringement of housing regulations. HDB and the other authorities are prepared to take firm action against the flat owners and the individuals involved who contravene such rules,” the spokesperson said.

While HDB flats are meant primarily for owner-occupation, owners are allowed to sublet their unit after completing the required Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). This provides flexibility for owners who might be in financial difficulty or retirees who need to supplement their retirement income, and it also helps to meet the demand for market-rental flats, HDB explained. However, those wanting to rent out their flats within the MOP will only be considered under “extenuating circumstances”, it added.

The spokesperson said, “For this particular flat in Jade Spring, which was completed in 2011, the flat owners, a Singaporean household, was given approval to sublet the flat for a limited period of time. The approval had been given on compassionate grounds, as the flat owners needed to take care of a sick parent who is living in another location.”

HDB’s response came after advertisement of the flat as a “budget hotel” surfaced on various online and social media sites including Facebook.

One ad read, "Hi, we have transient rooms and bedspace for rent for Filipinos, located in Yishun."

Those interested were asked to get in touch with a person known as “Elena Gonzales” who had also listed her contact details on one of the sites.

Attempts by Yahoo! Singapore to contact Gonzales were unsuccessful.

According to the ad, the apartment comes equipped with different amenities for a comfortable stay and that a night's stay at the unit costs S$25 per head, which is cheaper than that of budget hotels in Singapore.

Members of the public who spotted the ad managed to download photos of the unit before the account was deleted, helping others trace the flat to Block 450 in Jade Spring along Yishun Ring Road.

It is also understood that the Build-to-Order (BTO) flat was only completed about six months ago. Under the Hotels Act (Chapter 127), section 7(1) states, "No person shall keep or manage any premises for the purposes of a hotel unless he is the holder of a valid licence granted in respect of the premises in accordance with the provisions of this Act."

Moreover, Section 16(7) declares that, "Any person guilty of the offence shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to such fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both."


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