The complete guide to transfer of HDB ownership

HDB flats.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Are you a HDB owner or a proposed owner-to-be? Either way, here’s everything you need to know about the conveyancing procedure.

If you’re a HDB dweller, there may come a time in your life when you find a need to appoint another owner or simply include them in the ownership of your home.

This process is otherwise known as a transfer of ownership. 

There are a wide range of reasons why a transfer is necessary. According to HDB, some of the most common reasons can be narrowed down to the following:

  • Inclusion of owners (Eg. Naming your child as one of the owners)
  • Withdrawal of owners (Eg. Likely to happen when your child, an existing owner, wants to buy a house of their own)
  • Substitution of owners (Eg. Replacing Child A with Child B as the owner)
  • Outright transfer (Eg. Relinquishing the ownership of your home to your child)

As with all major life events, there are a number of things to take into account when you embark on a conveyancing procedure, for both the proposed owners and the existing owners. It’s definitely not as simple as submitting an application to HDB and calling it a day. 

Fret not, we’ll take you through the entire step-by-step process from start to finish, plus what to do once all that’s settled.

Before applying for transfer of ownership

#1. Check the eligibility of your proposed owners 

Naturally, you’ll need to know if the owners-to-be are allowed to take ownership of your flat before you can successfully name them as the new owners.

Eligibility criteria, while lengthy, boils down to this:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Must not be an existing owner of another flat 
  • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR)
  • Infringement-free record

#2. Calculate the amount of monies required

Now that you know that the proposed owners are eligible, it’s time to get down to the numbers. It’s important to find out the exact amount of monies required to make a smooth transfer of ownership happen. 

Here’s what you need to take into account in your calculation: 

Amount of monies = Outstanding mortgage loan + CPF monies refund to the leaving owners + Transaction fees

The proposed owners are able to finance the total amount of monies via their CPF Ordinary Account (OA), cash savings or by applying for a home loan. 

#3. Find out if a home loan is necessary 

Unsurprisingly, the total monies might add up to a substantial amount that requires a huge chunk of cash. This is where a mortgage is necessary to cover the balance amount if the CPF monies and cash savings aren’t enough. If that’s the case, they can choose between applying for a HDB concessionary loan or bank loan. 

ALSO READ: Ownership transfer: HDB may seize flats over misleading or false statements

If you want to get up to speed on home loans and how they work, read all about it here.

#4. Check your proposed owner’s HDB loan eligibility

Note: Skip this step if you’re taking a bank loan.

Is your proposed owner taking a HDB loan? Be sure to check if they’re eligible before applying for a HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter.

The HLE is a document that provides information on the maximum loan amount, maximum repayment period and the monthly installment amount.

#5. Settle outstanding payments 

Before the transfer of ownership can go any further, both parties (and your spouses) must settle any outstanding resale levy, upgrading costs or debts and all manner of outstanding payments to HDB.

It’s important for these payments to be made as it could make or break your transfer of ownership application.

#6. Hire a lawyer

Last but not least, do engage the services of a lawyer to represent you in the conveyancing procedure. You’re able to choose between a private or HDB lawyer to represent you. 

Here’s what they do: 

  • Act for existing owners in transfer for ownership 
  • Act for the total discharge of existing loan 
  • Act for the proposed owners in transfer for ownership 
  • Act for the proposed owners in the new loan 

When applying for transfer of ownership

#1. Check the terms and conditions

You’re in the home stretch! First thing’s first, do read HDB’s terms and conditions to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.

To be especially thorough (and to make sure you didn’t forget anything), consult the required documents checklist and submit them through the following online portals, MyHDBPage and MyDoc@HDB.

#2. Wait for the results of your applicant’s eligibility assessment

If your application went off without a hitch, the proposed owners should receive a letter from HDB that’ll inform them of the good news. The letter also includes the estimated fees payable and what to prepare before attending the final appointment. 

#3. Attend the final appointment at the HDB Branch

At this point, you’ve made it to the finish line. To seal the deal, both parties (the existing and proposed owners) will need to attend the final appointment with HDB. Attendance is mandatory to complete the transaction – so be there or be square.

Fun fact: spouses are not spared from the final appointment and are required to attend as well.

Here’s what happens during the all-important final appointment: 

  1. Execute (sign) legal documents 
  2. Acknowledge and confirm the new mortgage (note: this only applies if the proposed owners applied for a HDB loan)
  3. Settle any outstanding transaction fees

What happens after the flat transfer? 

Both the existing and proposed owners will need to take note of HDB’s conditions for the flat after the conveyancing procedure. This includes the flat’s Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), resale levy and seller’s stamp duty.

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The new owner will also need to reapply for certain things like approval to rent out the flat if they wish to do so. 

Pro tip for the new owners: Congratulations! Now that your hard work has paid off, it might be worth your while to look into home insurance should something unforeseen happen to your home.

Unlike your basic fire insurance, home insurance protects your home, as well as the precious contents (and priceless valuables) within it. 

This article was first published in SingSaver.com.sg.