Eligibility Criteria

As a flat owner, you are allowed to change the holding type of your flat from joint tenancy to tenancy-in-common (in equal or unequal shares), and vice versa. The change of holding type is without monetary consideration, and by way of gift, on grounds of love and affection.
If you wish to convert the holding type of the flat or change the proportion of shares held in the flat, you can either appoint your own solicitors to act for you or you can engage HDB to handle the transaction.
Existing flat owners who are holding the flat under tenancy-in-common can also apply to change the proportion of shares held by them (without monetary consideration).
For tenancy-in-common, the shares of ownership of the flat must be in fractions of the same denominator and must add up to one. Other than the legal status of ownership of the flat, there is no difference in the housing policies governing the lease administration of HDB flats.
  • Joint Tenancy
  • Tenancy-in-common

Joint Tenancy

A joint-tenancy is a form of ownership where all co-owners have an equal interest in the flat, regardless of the individual owner’s contribution to buy the flat.
In joint-tenancy, there is a right of survivorship. This means that upon the death of a joint-tenant, his/her interest in the flat will automatically be passed to the remaining co-owner(s), regardless of whether the deceased joint-tenant has left behind a Will.
Example:
Mr. A, Mrs. B (wife) and Mr. C (son) own an HDB flat as joint tenants. In the event of Mr. A’s death, the ownership of the flat will automatically be passed to Mrs. B and Mr. C.
Mrs. B & Mr. C will have to continue to service the monthly loan instalment unless the outstanding loan is paid up by the mortgage insurance arising from late joint-tenant’s death.

Tenancy-in-Common

Tenancy-in-common is a form of ownership where each co-owner holds a separate and definite share in the flat. However, all the co-owners are entitled to live in the whole flat regardless of their share in the property.
There is no right of survivorship in tenancy-in-common. The deceased’s interest in the flat does not pass on automatically to the remaining co-owner(s). Upon the death of a tenant-in-common, the deceased’s interest in the flat will be distributed according to his Will (if any) or according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act.
The HDB’s policies are based on similar lines, regardless of whether the flat is held under tenancy-in-common or joint-tenancy.

Demise of Joint Owner

The remaining family or single occupier is allowed to retain the existing flat after the owner has passed away, provided:
  • he/she is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
  • he/she is at least 21 years old AND
  • he/she satisfies HDB’s prevailing eligibility rules and conditions to own a flat
Under joint tenancy, if one of the flat owners passes away, the deceased joint-tenant’s share or interest in the flat will be passed on to the surviving joint tenant(s).
For example, husband and wife (both above 21 years old) are holding the flat under joint tenancy. If the husband passes away, the surviving wife can take over the flat as the sole tenant, if she is a Singapore Citizen or SPR. If the lease had already been issued for the flat, a legal document known as the Notice of Death instrument will have to be prepared and lodged with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to allow the authorities to update the land records accordingly.
The surviving joint owner(s) may either appoint his own solicitor to act for him in the application or engage HDB’s legal services by applying at the HDB Branch managing the flat.
The procedures for lodging a Notice of Death for flats held under joint tenancy are as follows:
a. The remaining owner(s) will have to bring along:

  • Identity card(s) of the remaining joint owner(s)
  • Original death certificate of the deceased owner
  • Evidence of estate duty clearance for deceased owner’s estate (for death occurring before 15 Feb 2008)
  • Duplicate lease, if any

b. The remaining owner(s) would also be required to pay the relevant registration fees and conveyancing fees at the point of application.
c. HDB’s Legal Department will then prepare the Notice of Death and inform the remaining joint owner(s) to visit the managing HDB Branch to sign the documents.

Alternatively, the remaining owner(s) can themselves lodge the Notice of Death with SLA. They can refer to the SLA website for more details and information.

Demise of Sole Owner/Tenant-in-Common

The remaining family or single occupier is allowed to retain the existing flat after the owner has passed away, provided:

  • he/she is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
  • he/she is at least 21 years old AND
  • he/she satisfies HDB’s prevailing eligibility rules and conditions to own a flat

If there is a Will

The deceased’s interest in the flat will be distributed according to the Will. The deceased’s family should engage a private solicitor to apply to the Courts for a Grant of Probate.
The Grant of Probate is a Court Order that gives the legal authority to the Executor to administer the deceased’s estate. The Executor is the person named in a Will to administer the deceased’s estate.

If there is no Will

The deceased’s interest in the flat will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The deceased’s family should engage a private solicitor to apply to the Courts for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a Court Order that gives the legal authority to the Administrator to administer the deceased’s estate. The Administrator is the person administering the deceased’s estate.
Once the Grant of Letters of Administration or the Grant of Probate has been obtained, the Administrator(s) / Executor(s) can engage their own solicitors or appoint HDB solicitors to act for them to register their legal right as the Administrator(s) / Executor(s).
If they wish to engage the services of HDB, they can approach the HDB Branch managing the deceased’s flat to make the necessary application, bringing along the following documents:

  • Original copy of the Petition for the Grant of Letters of Administration/ Grant of Probate
  • Original copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration/ Grant of Probate
  • Original copy of the Syariah Court Inheritance Certificate (for Muslim Estates only)
  • A copy of death certificate of the deceased owner
  • Duplicate lease of the deceased’s flat
  • Identity Card(s) of all flat owners
The Administrator(s) / Executor(s) will have to sign the relevant documents and pay the relevant fees, such as stamp fees, conveyancing fees etc. Thereafter, the Administrator(s) / Executor(s) must apply at the HDB Branch managing the deceased’s flat to transfer the flat to the beneficiaries as owners, subject to HDB’s eligibility criteria and conditions governing transfer of flat ownership.