Can I Qualify for HDB’s Public Rental Scheme?

You would like a home to call your own, but perhaps cannot yet afford to buy, or even rent one. Don’t worry, this doesn’t spell homelessness for you. HDB’s raison d’etre is to provide affordable homes for all Singaporeans, so there’s something for everyone, even those on a very tight budget. HDB calls it the Public Rental Scheme.


According to HDB, applicants must be a Singaporean Citizens who are at least 21 years old, with a gross household income not exceeding $1,500 per month, although HDB will still review your application if it exceeds that limit, based on certain circumstances, such as household size and expenses such as medical needs. Applicants should not have children whom they can live with, or who can afford to provide other housing options for them.

Under the Public Rental Scheme are two types of plans – the Family Scheme and the Joint Singles Scheme. Each has slightly different eligibility criteria.

Type of Scheme

Eligibility Criteria

Family Scheme

The applicant must:

–          Be a Singaporean citizen

–          Include one other person in his/her basic family nucleus. This person can be a Singapore citizen or a Singapore permanent resident


The family nucleus can comprise any of the following:

–          The applicant and his/her spouse

–          The applicant and his/her parents

–          The widowed or divorced applicant and the children under his/her legal custody

–          The applicant and his/her fiancé or fiancée

–          The orphaned applicant and his/her siblings. At least one parent must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.


Joint Singles Scheme

–          The applicant and his/her listed occupier must both be Singapore citizen

–          Both the applicant and his/her occupier must be single


The definition of single is as follows:

–          Unmarried and at least 35 years old

–          Divorced or legally separated from spouse, and at least 35 years old

–          Widowed or orphaned with at least one parent who was a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident

On top of the abovementioned requirements, there are also restrictions regarding the property ownership status of those who wish to apply for rental flats under HDB’s Public Rental Scheme. This is to ensure that the flats are distributed to the truly needy and are not used for speculation.

The applicant and his/her listed occupiers must not:

  • Be listed tenants or essential occupiers of another HDB flat
  • Own any HDB flats, local private properties, overseas private properties, or executive condominiums
  • Have been barred from applying for a flat under the Public Rental Scheme. One reason for debarment could be past property ownership. In assessing this, HDB will examine the proceeds from the sale of the applicant’s last property.

Application Procedure

The road to attaining an HDB Public Rental Scheme flat starts with an application. Eligible tenants may submit their application in person at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh, or online. Depending on your citizenship, the number of dependents you have, and your marital and employment status, the application will have to be accompanied by different documents.

Each applicant has two opportunities to select his/her preferred flat. Choose wisely because once your flat selection has been confirmed, you will not be allowed to make any changes to your application.

HDB Public Rental Scheme flats are located in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Tampines, Bukit Merah, Jurong, and Woodlands. Depending on the number of people in your household and whether you are applying under the Family Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme, you’ll be eligible for different flat types.

Scheme Type

Household Size and Income

One-room Flats

Two-room Flats

Family Scheme

Household without any income and with any number of members


Not Eligible

Household with monthly income $1,500 or less and two members


Not Eligible

Household with monthly income $1,500 or less and three or more members



Joint Singles Scheme

Household with monthly income $1,500 or less and two single members


Not Eligible

After your second flat selection, things are almost set in stone. At this stage, you could forfeit your application if you fail to sign the tenancy agreement or pay the required fees by the date as stated in the written notice from HDB. If this happens, you and the other occupiers listed in the application will not be allowed to apply for another flat under the Public Rental Scheme for a year.

Once the application has been submitted, it’s a waiting game. However, truly needy applicants who are in immediate need of a housing solution will be given priority.

Money Matters

Rents under the Public Rental Scheme are so affordable that those benefiting from it may pay as little as $26 a month to keep a roof over their heads. Even the highest rent one can expect is just $275. The variation depends on your household income, the type of flat you want to rent, and whether you are a first or second-time applicant.

Monthly Household Income

Applicant Type

Monthly Rent for a One-room Flat

Monthly Rent for a Two-room Flat

$800 or less


$26 to $33

$44 to $75


$90 to $123

$123 to $165

Between $801 and $1500


$90 to $123

$123 to$165


$150 to $205

$205 to $275

HDB defines first-time applicants as those who do not currently own, or have never previously sold, an HDB flat purchased directly from HDB or an HDB resale flat purchased with the CPF Housing Grant. First-time applicants must also have never obtained housing subsidy from the purchase of an executive condominium from a developer, the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), or the privatisation of Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estates.

As long as you have done any of the above, or received subsidies in any of the abovementioned forms, you are considered a second-time applicant, and will have to pay slightly higher rents.

Just like regular rental properties on the open market, once you have signed the tenancy agreement for a Public Rental Scheme flat, you are required to pay a deposit equivalent to one month’s rent. Once that’s done, you’ll have a space to call your own.

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