by Jared Heng
Singapore’s government will tweak the Interim Rental Housing (IRH) scheme, according to Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan’s latest blog post on Friday.
In his blog, Mr Khaw wrote that the move seeks to better help needy families with temporary housing at subsidised rates, while they work out a more permanent solution.
As part of the initiative, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will exercise greater oversight of the IRH scheme to ensure that private operators managing the scheme serve needy Singaporean families first, Mr Khaw said.
This means HDB will limit the role of the operators to managing the IRH tenancies and premises on HDB’s behalf.
Second, HDB will introduce further guidelines to ensure better pairing of households to help minimise conflicts.
Under the IRH scheme, two households are required to share a flat, as this lowers their individual rental cost.
In addition, HDB will extend the IRH tenancy period from the current six months to a year, and this can be renewed for up to two years.
Mr Khaw said this will reduce the anxiety that families feel, and give greater certainty to tenants who may need more time to work out a longer-term housing option.
Those waiting for their new flat or public rental flat can continue to renew until their flat is ready for occupancy.
The first site that will operate under the revised IRH terms is at Dover Road, with about 500 flats for tenants under the scheme.
As for the existing IRH sites, HDB will honour the current contracts and take them back when the lease expires.
Mr Khaw said the IRH scheme is a minor supplement to the public rental housing scheme, which is run by the HDB.
While 1,500 households are under the IRH scheme, 45,000 families are living in the HDB rental flats.