“Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong. ” - Meg Lowrey -
Getting a house in Singapore as an unmarried mother is not easy. There is a very specific set of criteria to be met and even then, the price of an HDB unit can be challenging for a sole income-earner.
Finding Shelter: Christabel
Christabel’s first attempt at getting a rental flat was rejected because she did not fall within the income bracket. She was told that she exceeded the income level to rent a flat.
Her second attempt at getting a resale flat was highly challenging because her income alone could hardly afford a unit that typically two people would purchase together. And again, her applications for higher loans were rejected because her “income was too high”.
Through months of petitioning, hard work and rejections from HDB, Christabel was finally able to settle down in a flat with her daughter and her mother. Safe to say, the entire process was frustrating and tedious for a person who was merely trying to put a roof over her head.
If staying with family members or relatives is not possible or may not be an ideal solution, there are other housing options available to you and hopefully you’ll have an easier time finding a suitable home for you and your child.
1. New/BTO flats
BTO (Build-To-Order) flats are newly-built flats by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). These flats are usually cheaper than resale flats with for the same number of rooms in the same estate (i.e. mature or non-mature estates).
To be eligible for purchasing a new 99-year 2-room flexi flat in a non-mature estate under the Single Singapore Citizens Scheme, which is what HDB offers to Singles applying alone, you have to be at least 35 years old and your monthly household income does not exceed $6,000.
If you prefer to stay in a flat with more rooms or in a mature estate, you can either buy a resale flat or buy an Executive Condominium (EC) under the Joint Singles Scheme. The Joint Singles Scheme allows 2 or more single persons to purchase larger resale flats or ECs.
2. Resale flats
The option of buying a resale flat (i.e. buying from the open market) provides the most flexibility in terms of price, location, apartment types and eligibility. Similar to buying a new/BTO, you need to be at least 35 years old to purchase a resale flat.
Read about the buying procedures from getting the right flat to financing it, as well as other factors to take note of.
3. Rental flats
Rental flat is an option if you’re looking for a temporary place to stay or do not have enough money to purchase a flat. There are 2 ways:
(1) You can rent a flat from an existing flat owner, or a bedroom as a sub-tenant (i.e. renting from the open market). However, renting from the open market tends to be more expensive as the government heavily subsidies rental flats under the Public Rental Scheme (see below).
(2) You can rent a flat directly from HDB under the Public Rental Scheme. However, take note that to rent under the Public Rental Scheme, you need find another single tenant to stay with. Both of you need to be at least 35 years old and your total household gross income must not exceed $1,500 per month. Flats under the Public Rental Scheme are typically 1 or 2 room flats.
Find out more information:
Housing and Development Board (HDB)
Buying a flat
Hotline: 1800 866 3066 (Weekdays: 8.00am to 5.00pm)
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: HDB Hub, 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, Atrium 1st Storey, Singapore 310480
Opening hours: Weekdays: 8.00am to 5.00pm; Saturdays: 8.00am to 1.00pm
Renting a flat
Hotline: 1800 225 5432 (Weekdays: 8.00am to 5.00pm)
Address: HDB Hub, 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, Atrium 3rd Storey, Singapore 310480
Opening hours: Weekdays: 8.30am to 5.00pm; Saturdays: 8.30am to 1.00pm
If you absolutely cannot find an accommodation (including at your family’s, relatives’ or friends’), the final option would be to stay in a shelter. There are shelters for women and children such as Star Shelter, Good Shepherd Centre, Casa Raudha, and Pertapis.
As shelter spaces are usually reserved for those who are really in need, only apply to one if you have exhausted all means to find an accommodation or face life-threatening dangers (e.g. domestic violence) at home.
Housing Grants & Subsidies
For housing grants, subsidies and various schemes available to you (see below), please approach HDB.