Don’t penalise desperate ones who sublet illegally

Don’t penalise desperate ones who sublet illegally


WITH a growing number of Singaporeans waiting to be allotted a rental flat from the Housing Board, it is good to know the HDB is taking steps to ensure those who abuse the system are caught and punished.


However, the article, ‘Tenants cashing in on rental flats’ (May 29), did not reflect other groups of tenants and unauthorised occupiers who run the risk of being caught for illegally subletting or occupying rental flats. In my work as a social worker, I have come across these groups and wish to bring to light their predicament.


Examples of tenants who sublet their units are:


·  Single elderly people who find public assistance money insufficient;


·  Elderly people who are unable to find employment; and


·  Elderly people who cannot depend on their children for monthly maintenance money.


It can be argued that there are assistance schemes in place to help these groups. However, the fact that some still resort to illegally subletting their homes indicates that the schemes do not address their actual needs and more needs to be done to reach out to them.


A number of unauthorised occupants also includes Singaporean families. These are predominantly families who: <P


·  Already face a debarment period, having sold their purchased flat, either because they were unable to settle their mortgage with the HDB or settle housing or renovation loans from the banks; or


·  Are on the wait list and have exhausted all other accommodation options.


What can be done to address the concerns of these groups without penalising them and pushing them down further when they are trying to stay afloat? What preventive measures need to be taken and how can government bodies work together to address these issues – which may indicate greater problems?


If the HDB acts alone, downstream the community- based agencies will have to pick up the pieces with those affected. Without policies in place, our remedial efforts may not be sufficient to assist these client groups.


Subha Rajaiya (Ms)


Source : Straits Times

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