HDB flats

“Does an unmarried daughter above 21 years of age and living with her widowed father have the legal right to stop him from selling his HDB flat and rendering her homeless?” – asked reader Pat Chiow in The Straits Times about the right to continue staying in a Housing Board (HDB) flat after one parent dies.

Here was HDB’s reply:

Daughter Has to be Co-Owner

Unfortunately, if the daughter is not a co-owner of the flat, she has no legal right to stop the flat from being sold, said the HDB.

As a legal owner of the flat, the widowed father can decide to sell the flat if he has met the Minimum Occupation Period of five years.

Daughter Can Seek Help from FSC

“If she is experiencing hardship or family dispute, the daughter could seek assistance from the Family Service Centre or the Legal Aid Bureau,” suggested the HDB.

When a joint owner of a flat dies, the remaining joint owner can take ownership as the sole lessee, if he or she satisfies the eligibility conditions such as being a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident.

In such a situation, the remaining joint owner will have to lodge a Notice of Death with the Singapore Land Authority. He may appoint his own solicitor to act for him, or engage the HDB’s legal services.

If using the HDB’s services, he should go to the relevant HDB branch and bring along his identity card, the original death certificate of the deceased joint owner, and a duplicate lease, if there is one. He will have to pay registration and conveyancing fees at the point of application.

HDB’s legal group will then prepare the Notice of Death and inform him to sign the documents.

This article was first published in The Straits Times in 2016.