HDB MOP Rules

Or

What can I do or not do

Today I am going to talk about the HDB MOP Rules in a summary. This is after I received a few emails after my previous article on “buying a HDB flat after selling a private property”, with many thanking me for the information and then proceeding to ask about the famous HDB MOP rules.

I am guessing HDB rules are really a pain for many owners and a good Property Agent needs to know these rules well too. I hope the following helps.

What are the HDB MOP Rules

Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) for a HDB flat is simple. Basically, you have to occupy the flat for a number of years (usually 5 years) before you can sell it in the open market or do something in the real estate market.

During these five years, there are many restrictions on what you can do or not do for the HDB flat and most importantly, what other real estate properties you can or cannot buy during the same period of time. Your hands can be pretty tied as the market goes by you.

The idea behind HDB MOP Rules is simple. You have been given a subsidy (cheaper new BTO flat, a HDB resale housing grant etc) to purchase a flat for your own stay. You are hence not allowed to be doing other property related transactions that defeats the purpose of the subsidy.

Details are in HDB web page here.

MOP for BTO Flats and Resale HDB flats

First let’s see the calculation of MOP for new BTO flats and resale flats purchased with a grant.

MOP Calculations for BTO and Resale Flats
MOP Calculations for BTO and Resale Flats

And even if you have the means to buy a HDB flat without any grants, it is still 5 years MOP.

5 years MOP for HDB BTO and resale
5 years MOP for HDB BTO and HDBresale


So it is 5 years for everything.

Except for SERS flat which is the earlier of 7 years from the date of the selection of the replacement flat or 5 years from occupation. If you are working with SERS flats, do take note of the rule. I have seen cases in Ang Mo Kio SERS flat where the date of selection of the replacement flat (7 years) is reached before MOP (5 years). I will share an example in my next blog post.

MOP for Executive Condominiums

Ah the beauty and mystery of Executive Condos. The government designed upgrading gap between HDB and Private Condos. The intent is good. But as owners, we need to know that many HDB rules still are still very very relevant despite the name “Condominium”. It is not that private for the first 5 years.

5 Years MOP for EC too
5 Years MOP for EC too

So yes, EC has also a 5 years MOP period too.

After which they can be sold to Singaporeans. This is when many people who missed out on the EC will come in to purchase them and the original owners can expect to gain a nice windfall.

And after 10 years, they can be sold to foreigners (aka behaving like a normal private condominium). That is where the full value of the EC are realised.

Singapore HDB flats are nice. You just need to know the rules
Singapore HDB flats are nice. You just need to know the rules.
Credit: https://www.twenty20.com/photos/98aac065-ad9c-4770-821c-5dd27e8ed0b3/

During the Famous 5 Years of HDB MOP Rules

Okay. So we know in most cases, the MOP period is 5 years. So what can you do or not do during these 5 years.

Here is a simple summary.

Type of PropertiesCan I Do ThisNotes
Buying Residential Properties (Local or Overseas)NoYou cannot buy any residential properties.
Period. Don’t even ask.
Renting out my whole HDB flatNoDo not lock one room and try to rent it out.
It is illegal.
You can lose your HDB flat.
There, I have said it.
Renting out the rooms in my HDB flatYesMust be one room less than the total number of rooms

So for a 3 room HDB flat you can only rent out 1 room

For a 4 room or 5 room HDB flat, you can rent out 2 rooms

No need to apply to HDB
Buying Commercial PropertiesYesNo ABSD. No SSD.
Buying Industrial PropertiesYesNo ABSD. SSD if sold within 3 years.

So the above is very simple. You basically cannot get involved in any residential purchase transactions during the 5 years of MOP.

Follow the HDB MOP Rules pleasex

After 5 Years of HDB MOP Rules

Now, finally, after 5 long years (where the property cycle has gone up and passed you by, or gone down and yet you cannot do anything), you can now finally do something.. Joy to the world !

A summary

Type of PropertiesCan I Do ThisNotes
Buying Residential Private Properties (Local or Overseas)YesYou can buy a second (or third or fourth…or tenth) private properties now.

You DO NOT have to sell off your HDB flat if you are a Singaporean or a Singaporean family.

You can rent it out too.

Take note of ABSD for second (or third or fourth or tenth) properties.

Take note of LTV if you have not fully paid off your HDB loan.
You can lend much less and must have more cash.
Buying HDB Properties (BTO, EC)YesBut you have to sell off your existing HDB property within 6 months

Everyone can have only ONE HDB property

Take note of HDB Resale Levy
Buying HDB Properties (Resale)YesBut you have to sell of your existing HDB property within 6 months

Everyone can have only ONE HDB property

No HDB Resale Levy as you are buying resale as a second timer
Renting out my whole HDB flatYesYes you can. You need to apply to HDB

Take note of all the quotas and rules of renting out

Take note of the non-owner occupier tax rates for property taxes. This will eat into your rental.
Renting out the rooms in my HDB flatYesMust be one room less than the total number of rooms

So for a 3 room HDB flat you can only rent out 1 room.
For a 4 room or 5 room HDB flat, you can rent out 2 rooms

No need to apply to HDB
Buying Commercial PropertiesYesNo ABSD. No SSD.
Buying Industrial PropertiesYesNo ABSD. SSD if sold within 3 years.

PR family who are HDB Owners of a MOP flat

When a HDB resale flat owned by a PR family has reached its MOP period, the owners might want to rent it out and then buy a private property. Noticed I used the words, “resale” as PR family are NOT allowed to buy new HDB BTO or new EC. They can only buy resale (and even that it is 3 years AFTER they have obtained the PR status).

Singaporeans vs PRs in HDB flats
Singaporeans vs PRs in HDB flats

The answer is NO. They are NOT allowed.

PRs HDB owners MUST sell their HDB flats within 6 months of buying a private property. In other words, unlike Singaporeans, they are NOT allowed to have a HDB flat and a private property at the same time. This privilege is only reserved for PINK IC holders.

Singaporeans First 🙂 So it is fake news if you read somewhere they are doing so.

Conclusion on HDB MOP Rules

Hopefully this article is a good summary on some of the HDB MOP rules.

I have not touched on things like divorce during MOP period (to me, divorce cases are tough. I recommend experienced agents like these who have done many cases of divorce and know the specific impact on the HDB flats). Or death of an owner during MOP period or the moving out of an essential occupier during MOP period. I might do so in the future.

Do feel free to let me know if there are more information I can put into the tables above.

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