Lease Buyback Scheme/ ST 31March15

Changes to Lease Buyback Scheme kick in on April 1

Janice Heng
Straits Times
31 March 15

SINGAPORE – More elderly Housing Board flat owners will be able to sell part of their lease back to the Government for retirement income from Wednesday, April 1.

Under previously-announced changes to the Lease Buyback Scheme, four-room flats will now be eligible, extending the scheme to cover 75 per cent of elderly households, up from 35 per cent previously.

The monthly household income ceiling will be raised to $10,000 from $3,000.

In households with two or more owners, each one will only need to top up their Central Provident Fund retirement account to the current basic age-adjusted retirement sum, instead of the full retirement sum. This will give them more cash up front.

Elderly households will be able to choose how long a lease to retain: 15, 20, 25, 30 or 35 years, provided that the lease covers the youngest owner till at least age 95. Previously, owners had to retain a 30-year lease.

All four changes were announced last September. The scheme is open to households in which at least one owner is a Singapore citizen, and all owners are at least at the CPF payout eligibility age – currently 64 – or older.

From April 1, applicants can tap the enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme by submitting an online application on the HDB’s website. Those who need help to do so may approach any HDB branch.

After a household applies for the scheme, the HDB will conduct a one-to-one financial counselling session with them. “The session seeks to help them better understand the LBS and the other monetisation options available, so that they can decide on an option that will best suit their priorities and retirement needs,” the HDB said in a statement on Tuesday.

For more information, the public can call the HDB Branch Service Line at 1800-225-5432 between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

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