Housing Market

How To Rent A 3-Room HDB Flat From As Low As $400/Month Under The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme

20 June 2023 | BY

Under HDB’s Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme, those waiting for a BTO flat to be complete can rent a flat from $400/month.

Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme

We have all heard horror stories about Singapore’s rental market and the nightmarish rates that landlords are charging. Amidst the housing crisis, there’s still a way for couples and families to rent an entire HDB flat at highly-affordable rates like $400/month for a 2-room flat in Punggol.

No, it’s nothing illegal or an under-the-table method. It’s simply by using HDB’s own Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS). Read our guide on how you and your partner can score a rental flat for a steal.

What is the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme?

The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) in a nutshell is HDB’s way of letting couples and their children rent a flat and live under their own roof while waiting for their BTO’s completion. Yes, the catch is that this scheme is only eligible for those who already have a BTO flat that’s currently under construction – we’ll get into the details later.

couple in a hdb flatImage for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal

All flats under the PPHS are also rented out at subsidised rates which lets those families save up and invest in their new BTO flat instead of having to spend on rent. Available flats are released every 2 months during the even months – February, April, June, August, October, and December – and application results are determined by a ballot similar to the BTO system.

Each application will incur a $10, non-refundable fee that can be paid either by credit card (Mastercard or Visa only) or by cash within 3 days of your application.

Who can rent a PPHS flat?

3 people discussing documentsImage for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal

Contrary to its name, the PPHS is not limited to parents only. Dual-income-no-kid (DINK) couples can also apply online. The groups eligible to apply for a PPHS flat are as follows according to the HDB website:

  • Married couples
  • Applicants under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
  • Divorced or widowed parent with children

Furthermore, these criteria also have to be met to be considered:

  • Applicants must either both be Singapore Citizens, or a couple comprising a Singapore Citizen and a Singapore PR
  • All members of the PPHS household cannot own an existing HDB flat
    • Any household members that co-own an existing HDB flat with parents or siblings must give up ownership of the flat upon collecting the keys to the PPHS flat
  • All household members that will live in the PPHS flat must be listed on the application
  • You can only be listed on 1 PPHS application in the same month
  • Your combined monthly household income must be $7,000 or below
  • The total number of occupants cannot go over 6 per PPHS flat
  • Your BTO’s estimated completion date should be 4 months before the PPHS flat’s site expiry date

According to the HDB website, certain applicants will receive priority balloting:

  • Married couples with at least one child that’s 18 years old and below
  • Married couples that are expecting and have a doctor’s letter certifying their estimated delivery date
  • Applicants who intend to share a PPHS flat with another applicant that matches the above profiles

One tip that we’ve gotten from successful PPHS applicants is that HDB will use your combined income at the time of your BTO application and not the PPHS application. So if your combined income had exceeded $7K after your BTO application, you should still be able to apply for a PPHS flat.

Another thing to consider is that the date of your BTO flat’s completion should fall around 4 months before the expiry of the PPHS flat. Yes, the PPHS flats have an expiry date. But not to fret – as of the time of writing, all available PPHS flats have a site expiry of 2030, giving you plenty of time to ballot for a BTO successfully and see through its completion.

In the event that your BTO completion ends after the expiry of the PPHS flat, your application will be disqualified and your $10 application fee will also be forfeited.

How big are the HDB flats & how much is the rent?

Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme

The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme offers 2-, 3-, and 4-room flats. However, as the graph shows, some HDB districts only have 2-room flats available to rent, while others have 3- and 4-room flats. The monthly rent also varies – a 3-room flat in Sembawang is cheaper than a 3-room flat in Woodlands but is more expensive than a 3-room flat in Yishun.

Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme floorplanSome of the HDB flats are up for rent under the PPHS in Toa Payoh.
Image credit HDB

One good thing about the PPHS is that your rent is locked in for your entire stay. Yes, even if you are staying for the full duration that you’re allowed, your rent will not increase year on year. 

When you go to HDB Hub to sign your tenancy agreement, you’ll also have to pay:

  • The first month’s rent
  • 1 month’s rent as a security deposit
  • Any stamp fees

So if you’re renting a 3-room flat in Bishan for 24 months, be prepared to pay $1,676. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $800 (first month’s rent)
  • $800 (1-month security deposit)
  • $76 (stamp fees)

How long can I stay in a PPHS rental flat?

A PPHS flat cannot be rented forever as it’s meant for those waiting for their BTO flats to be complete. That being said, tenancy in a PPHS flat is capped at 3 years, and your tenancy has to end within 4 months after the estimated/probable completion date of your BTO flat. This gives you some time to get your renovation done before you officially move in.

However, if your BTO flat isn’t ready after 3 years, you can appeal for your tenancy to be renewed on a yearly basis. With BTO flats taking an average of 4-5 years to complete, it’s possible that you might need to extend your tenancy or move back in with your family or rent a place on the private market while waiting.

What does a PPHS rental flat include?

Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme unfurnished flatImage credit: HDB

Unfortunately, all PPHS flats come unfurnished, with the only fittings being the bare minimum like doors, toilets, sinks, a shower with a water heater, and windows. It’s up to you to decorate the rest of the place for the length of your stay.

On the bright side, the flat will be freshly repainted and given new floors and sockets.

Can I renovate my PPHS rental flat?

jessica lai at homeImage for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: Jessica Lai

Hold your horses if the first thing that came to your mind after you saw the PPHS flat with bare-bones was the opportunity to renovate. Like all rental properties, you aren’t allowed to carry out major renovation work within a PPHS flat.

What you are allowed to do are small, minor changes to the flat like installing window grilles and air-conditioners. However, carrying out those works also requires you to submit an official request to HDB before you begin. The aircon installation also has to abide by HDB’s conditions.

Pro tip: To make more bang for your buck, you can buy some appliances and furniture meant for your future BTO so it gets more mileage. You can also look to lease furniture and appliances instead if you have commitment issues with home and living things.

Guide to the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme in Singapore

The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme is a saving grace for all those out there who are waiting for their BTO flats to be completed. Even though living with parents or family members is the most cost-efficient option, the PPHS lets couples and families get a taste of cohabitation on their own terms and under their own roof. Now, if only something can be done for those of us who aren’t able to ballot for BTO flats just yet.

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